Rupa Huq MP has been suspended from the Labour party on Tuesday (27) after calling Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng ‘superficially black’. She will now sit in Parliament as an independent MP.
While speaking at a party conference fringe event on Monday (26), Haq 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.”
She made the remarks while sitting next to Labour chairman Anneliese Dodds at an event in Liverpool hosted by British Future and the Black Equity Organisation.
Sunder Katwala, the director of the British Future think tank, who was chairing the conversation, replied that Kwarteng’s views ‘don’t make him not black’.
“I think the Labour Party has to be really careful,” he was quoted as saying by media outlets.
Kwarteng was born in east London and has Ghanaian heritage. He was appointed as chancellor earlier this month by prime minister Liz Truss.
Her remarks sparked outrage as many in the conservative party called for action against the Ealing Central and Acton MP.
Tory Party chair Jake Berry called her comments racist and disgusting. In a letter to party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Berry urged to join him in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has urged Haq to apologise and described her remarks as ‘unacceptable’. Party’s foreign affairs spokesman David Lammy described the remarks as ‘unfortunate’.
Former chancellor and Tory MP Sajid Javid said he was ‘appalled and saddened’ by Haq’s comments. He 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.”
Responding to the controversy, Huq told The Guardian that she ‘stand by’ the comments. According to her, the comments were made while praising the recent ethnic diversity of chancellors.
She said that the criticism a ‘massive misunderstanding, wilfully’ of her remarks.
“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,” she was quoted as saying by The Guardian.