Rupa Huq - who called chancellor ‘superficially black’ - was cleared of antisemitism in 2019

Labour MP was accused of racist bullying by an ex-staffer three years ago


Labour MP Dr Rupa Huq, who has had the party whip withdrawn after saying that Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is “superficially black”, was cleared over allegations of “antisemitic bullying” in 2019. 

Three years ago a former staff member of Jewish heritage alleged that the Ealing Central MP repeatedly asked him why his bag was adorned with Israel flags, referring to the Star of David badges pinned to it. 

The complainant also alleged that Dr Huq later “banned” him from writing policy responses, after telling him that something he wrote on the Israel-Palestine conflict was too pro-Israel.

However a panel, which was advised by an independent barrister, determined in September 2019 that there was insufficient evidence that Dr Huq had breached Labour’s rulebook.

In the recent furore, Dr Huq told the Labour conference fringe event "What's Next for Labour's Agenda on Race?" that Mr Kwarteng was “superficially black”.

In a clip of the event shared to the Guido news site, Dr Huq can 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."

A spokesperson for the Labour Party has said: “We condemn the remarks and urge her to withdraw them and apologise.”

Conservative Party chair Jake Berry expressed “serious concerns” over the incident in a letter to Sir Keir Starmer on Tuesday, writing: "During an event organised by the British Future and Black Equity Organisation 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."

"Sunder Katwala, the event chair, was forced to respond to her appalling comments about the chancellor by saying his Conservative views 'doesn't make him not black... and I think the Labour Party has to be really careful'.

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will join me in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist and that the Labour whip will be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence,” he went on.

Mr Katwala later affirmed via Twitter that Ms Dodds had left the event when Dr Huq’s remarks were made.

Dr Huq described her remarks as “ill judged” in an apology posted to Twitter following her suspension, writing: “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.”

Guardian journalist Aubrey Allegretti, claimed earlier on Tuesday that Dr Huq told him she "stood by" her comments on the Chancellor, and that she alleged: "she was praising recent ethnic diversity of chancellors, and audience member challenged her, so she said a person's pigmentation doesn't make them progressive."

Following her suspension, pending an investigation, Dr Huq will sit as an independent MP in the House of Commons.

The JC has contacted Dr Rupa Huq for comment.

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