Labour has delayed making a final decision on the fate of suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins, who is accused of sexual harassment.
The 76-year-old leftwinger faces two claims of inappropriate conduct towards a 27-year-old activist and fellow MP Kerry McCarthy.
A party spokesperson confirmed on Friday that the matter would be referred to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, which will decide whether Hopkins will be excluded permanently, but did not give any indication of timescales.
“After consideration of statements provided by the complainant and the respondent, the NEC’s Sexual Harassment panel has agreed that on the balance of the evidence the matter should be referred to a full hearing of the National Constitutional Committee,” they said.
“The Labour Party will not be commenting further on this case until the conclusion of that hearing.”
Party member Ava Etemadzadeh alleged that Hopkins sent her an inappropriate text and rubbed his crotch against her after a student event in 2014.
Bristol East MP McCarthy was prompted by the case to come forward and reveal that she too had been sent suggestive letters by Hopkins since the 1990s.
Hopkins later admitted texting Etemadzadeh but “absolutely and categorically” denied any “inappropriate conduct”.
The case was due to be heard before the NEC before Christmas, but was delayed until the new year.