The leader of the opposition of Ealing Council, Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm has called for Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq to resign following her comments made at a Labour Party fringe event in which Dr Huq said of Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s first black Chancellor of the Exchequer: “Superficially he is a black man… if you hear him on the Today Programme, you wouldn’t know he is black.”
On twitter, Councillor Malcolm tweeted: “Rupa Huq must resign now given her recent vile comments and previous history of disrespectful behaviour towards many groups. There needs to be a by-election NOW so that Ealing Central and Acton constituents have an MP that won’t bring shame and controversy to our local area.”
Dr Huq was taking part as a panellist in the fringe event called “What’s Next for Labour’s Agenda on Race?” and her comments were revealed in an audio recording of the fringe event which was published by political blog Guido Fawkes.
In the audio clip released by Guido Fawkes, Dr Huq said of Mr Kwarteng: “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.”
In a statement yesterday (27 September 2022), Dr 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.”
Other Labour MPs spoke out against the comments. Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the remarks were “unacceptable” when she appeared on the BBC Politics Live programme. Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman David Lammy said the comments were “unfortunate” and “I wouldn’t have made them myself.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Julian Gallant and leader of Ealing Conservatives said: “Ealing’s Conservative Councillors are shocked and puzzled by recent remarks made by Rupa Huq MP about the Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. We note that Ms Huq has had the Labour whip withdrawn on account of these remarks. We are quite sure that Ms Huq will realise that her remarks are totally at odds with those of Ealing residents, that they express a view which is totally wrong, and that she will want to withdraw them immediately.”
Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds told EALING.NEWS: “The comments made by Dr Huq about Mr Kwarteng are unacceptable and racist. The initial reaction to a journalist suggesting she had nothing to apologise for undermines the sincerity of her subsequent apology. It is right she has been suspended and face disciplinary action.”
in a statement, Ealing Liberal Democrats said: “Ealing Liberal Democrats condemn the comments from Rupa Huq suggesting that the Chancellor Kwasi Kwateng is “superficially black”. Comments which divide our country along racial lines have no place in our national discourse. It is right that she has lost the Labour whip and illustrates that Labour still has a racism problem. Labour must take action to root out this serious malaise from public life. Liberal Democrats believe that everyone is entitled to respect regardless of their racial identity or background.”
While suspended as a Labour MP, Dr Huq will continue to represent Ealing Central and Acton as an independent MP.