Rupa Huq loses the Labour whip after calling the chancellor ‘superficially black’

The Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Dr Rupa Huq has this afternoon been suspended from the parliamentary labour party after she was recorded calling the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwarsi Kwarteng, ‘superficially black’.

Amongst other comments Dr Huq is reported to have told delegates about the Chancellor, that ‘if you hear him on the Today programme,  you wouldn’t know he’s black’. Mr Huq made her comments when speaking to a Labour party fringe meeting in Liverpool entitled ‘What’s Next for Labour’s Agenda on Race’.

 Kwarsi Kwarteng, was born in East London to parents of Ghanian descent.

According to the Conservative Party Chairman, Jake Berry, Dr Huq is also said to have referenced how the Conservative party had ‘superficially had four brown Chancellors and that’.

Mr Berry made his comments in a letter sent earlier today to Sir Keir Starmer, in which he demanded Dr Huq be stripped of the Labour whip at Westminster.  This is something that has now happened.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 ‘PM’ programme this afternoon, the former Labour leader Ed Miliband, described Dr Huq’s remarks as ‘really awful comments’.

Dr Huq’s comments generated a response at the fringe meeting itself where Sunder Katwala, the Chair of the event is reported to have said that Chancellor’s Conservative views don’t ‘make him not black’ and that the ‘Labour Party has to be really careful’.

Commenting on Twitter this afternoon, Rupa Huq said, “I have today contacted Kwasi Kwarteng to offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies for the comments I made at yesterday’s Labour conference fringe meeting. My comments were ill-judged and I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone affected”.

Rupa Huq was educated at Cambridge before undertaking a PhD at East London University. She later became a sociology lecturer. Her sister is the former Blue Peter presenter, Konnie Huq.

She will now sit as an independent at Westminster.