Rupa Huq, British Member of Parliament, Apologizes for Racist Comments
Rupa Huq, a British Member of Parliament, has been suspended from her party pending a full investigation for allegedly making racist remarks about the newly installed and first black man to serve as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng.
Huq was at a Labour Party event entitled “What’s Next for Labour’s Agenda on Race?” organized by British Future and the Black Equity Organization when she made the racist remarks. “Superficially, he is a black man,” Huq said. “He went to Eton, I think, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through, the top schools in the country,” she added. “If you hear him on the Today programme, you wouldn’t know he is black.”
An audio clip revealing the comments by Huq was posted by the Guido Fawkes website, which is described as a right-wing political website. Huq subsequently posted an apology on Twitter. “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 apologize to anyone affected,” she wrote.
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The remarks she made were roundly condemned by various players in the United Kingdom’s political circles. The Labour Party’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer labeled the remarks made by Huq as racist, leading to him taking swift action against her. Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner had urged her colleague to take “immediate action” over her unacceptable conduct and apologize.
The party released a statement calling on Huq to apologize. “We condemn the remarks and urge her to withdraw them and apologize,” the statement said.
Huq was also criticized by the Conservative party’s chairman, Jake Berry. Berry wrote a letter to Starmer urging him to take action against Huq. “During an event organized by the British Future and Black Equity Organization and attended by shadow secretary of state for women and equalities Anneliese Dodds, Rupa Huq made a number of racist comments about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng,” he wrote. “I trust you will join me in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist and that the Labour whip will be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence.”
Sunder Katwala, who chaired the event, criticized Huq’s remarks directly after she made them at the event. He tweeted, “My comments from the chair that people should be judged on their politics and ideas, not race, and that Kwarteng being a Conservative did not mean he was not Black, were strongly applauded by the fringe audience.”