Labour removes party whip after MP calls Kwarteng ‘superficially’ black

In audio published online, Rupa Huq was heard discussing the chancellor’s private school background

Kate Devlin
Wednesday 28 September 2022 10:02 BST
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‘What she said was racist’: Sir Keir Starmer condemns Rupa Huq’s comment

An MP has had the Labour party whip suspended after she called Kwasi Kwarteng ‘superficially’ black.

Rupa Huq was heard discussing the chancellor’s private school background, before adding that "you wouldn’t know he is black" when hearing him speak.

The MP for Ealing Central and Acton, in west London, is thought to have made the comments at a fringe event at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Monday.

A senior Labour spokesperson said: “We condemn the remarks she made, which were totally inappropriate and call on her to withdraw them.”

In the audio, revealed by the Guido Fawkes website, Ms Huq could be heard saying: "Superficially he is a black man.

"He went to Eton, I think, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through, the top schools in the country.

"If you hear him on the Today programme, you wouldn’t know he is black."

Before her suspension a local Labour source said: “Having just been re-selected unanimously it is disappointing to see the MP we campaigned so hard to elect distract the media so disastrously on the day of the leader’s speech. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whip were suspended - in fact it would be deserved”.

Tory party chairman Jake Berry raised "serious concerns" in a letter to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

"I trust you will join me in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist and that the Labour whip be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence," he wrote.

Mr Berry said that Sunder Katwala, who was chairing the event for the British Future and Black Equity organisations, was forced to challenge her remarks.

According to the Tory MP, Mr Katwala said that the Chancellor’s Conservative views "doesn’t make him not black ... and I think the Labour Party has to be really careful".

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