Rupa Huq’s Labour suspension for saying Kwasi Kwarteng ‘superficially Black’ is lifted

Labour MP Rupa Huq was suspended over her Kwasi Kwarteng comments (UK Parliament)
Labour MP Rupa Huq was suspended over her Kwasi Kwarteng comments (UK Parliament)

Rupa Huq MP has had the Labour whip restored following a suspension over controversial comments made about former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.

The MP, who represents Ealing Central and Acton, sparked fury after suggesting that Mr Kwarteng was “superficially black”.

Ms Huq said: “During my suspension I have reflected on the offence caused by my remarks at last year’s Labour Party Conference and I want to offer, once again, my sincere apologies to everyone affected.

“As I promised at the time, I have undertaken and completed anti-racism and bias training.

“I want to make clear that I accept fully the conclusion of the Party’s inquiry and the sanction it has imposed.”

Ms Huq made the comments at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, during Mr Kwarteng’s time as Chancellor.

She 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.

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

Labour branded the remarks “totally inappropriate” and she was immediately suspended from the party.

Reacting to her comments, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told LBC: “What she said, in my view, was racist, it was wrong and she’s been suspended from the whip in the party and that was done very, very quickly.

“I think that tells you how strongly I feel about those comments.”

After her suspension, Ms Huq apologised and described her comments as "ill-judged".

"I have contacted Kwasi Kwarteng to offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies for the comments I made at yesterday's Labour conference fringe meeting," she said.

"My comments were ill-judged and I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone affected.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Ms Huq’s comments were “racist” but insisted she herself is not.

Mr Khan said: “What it infers is that all black people speak a certain way and all black people are working class.

"Rupa is not racist but that comment was."

Huq was one of three London Labour MPs suspended. Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle is awaiting to hear whether he will have the whip restored after he was suspended last February for making derogatory comments to a reporter in Westminster’s Strangers’ bar.

Islington North MP and former party leader Jeremy Corbyn lost the Whip in 2020 and Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he will not be standing for the Labour Party at the next election.