MP Rupa Huq suspended for distasteful comments about Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
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Labour Party MP Rupa Huq has been suspended after taking a jibe at Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng at a party conference fringe event on Monday, 26 September.
Huq said that Kwarteng is ‘superficially black’, which sparked outrage among many with several conservative party leaders urging for strict action to be taken against her for the distasteful statement.
The Ealing Central and Acton MP said, “He’s superficially, he’s, a black man but again he’s got more in common… he went to Eton, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through top schools in the country.
“If you hear him on the Today programme you wouldn’t know he’s black.”
The director of the British Future think tank, Sunder Katwala, who was chairing the conversation, replied that Kwarteng’s views ‘don’t make him not black’.
Katwala is reported to have spoken to media outlets later and said, “I think the Labour Party has to be really careful.”
Huq made the remarks in the presence of Labour chairman Anneliese Dodds at the event in Liverpool hosted by British Future and the Black Equity Organisation.
Amid the backlash, Huq told The Guardian that she ‘stands by’ what she said. She claimed that the comments were meant to be praiseworthy of the ethnic diversity of the recent chancellors.
Tory Party chair Jake Berry said that her comments were racist and disgusting. In a letter to Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Berry asked him to join in condemning the comments and agree that they were racist.
Former chancellor and Tory MP Sajid Javid said, “Rather than give encouragement to racists and people who seek to divide us, she should know better. Not too late for her to show that she does.”
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and described Huq’s remarks as ‘unacceptable’ and requested her to apologise.
However, Huq maintained that the overwhelming criticism was the result of ‘massive misunderstanding, wilfully’ of what she was trying to convey.
She told The Guardian, “Obviously I know you can be brown and be a Tory – I’m not that stupid. An audience member challenged me on the comments and I replied that a person’s pigmentation doesn’t make them progressive.” Rupa Huq was suspended on Tuesday, 27 September and will sit in the Parliament as an independent MP going forward.