Chi Onwurah

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Chi Onwurah
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chi Onwurah MP (5981056622).jpg
Bola Tinubu and Chi Onwurah
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Jim Cousins
Majority 7,466 (21.9%)
Personal details
Born (1965-04-12) 12 April 1965 (age 49)
Wallsend, Northumberland (now Tyne and Wear), England
Nationality British
Political party Labour

Chi Onwurah[1] (born 12 April 1965)[2] is a British Labour Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, replacing the previous Labour MP Jim Cousins, who decided to step down and left the seat.[3] She is Newcastle's first black MP.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

During the depression of the 1930s, Onwurah’s maternal grandfather was a sheet metal worker in Tyneside shipyards. Her mother grew up in poverty in Garth Heads on Newcastle’s quayside. Her father, from Nigeria, was working as a dentist while he studied at Newcastle Medical School when they met and married in the 1950s.

After Chi was born in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1965, her family moved to Awka, Nigeria when she was still a baby. Just two years later the Biafran Civil War broke out bringing famine with it, forcing her mother to bring the children back to Newcastle, whilst her father stayed on in the Biafran army.[4]

Onwurah went on to gain a degree in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London in 1987.[5] She worked in hardware and software development, product management, market development and strategy for a variety of mainly private sector companies in a number of different countries – Britain, France, US, Nigeria and Denmark while studying for an MBA at Manchester Business School.

Prior to becoming an MP she was Head of Telecoms Technology at OFCOM, with a focus on broadband provision.

Political career[edit]

Onwurah was very active in the Anti Apartheid Movement, and spent many years on its National Executive, and that of its successor organisation, ACTSA. She also joined the Advisory Board of the Open University Business School. Onwurah supported Ed Miliband in the 2010 Labour Party leadership election.[6] Miliband appointed Onwurah as a junior shadow minister for Business, Innovation and Skills on 10 October 2010. In 2013 she stepped up to an enhanced role as a Shadow Minister in the Cabinet Office.

Personal life[edit]

Outside of politics Onwurah enjoys music, reading and long walks in the countryside .[citation needed] She is also a supporter of Newcastle United FC.[7]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8738. 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Chi Onwurah". Democracy Live. 
  3. ^ "Election 2010: Results". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Labour Party website". Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Chinyelu Onwurah". Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Why I'm supporting Ed Miliband Chi Onwurah, 27 July 2010
  7. ^ On His Way To Wembley, Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, UK), July 15, 2011 Friday, A; Pg. 22, 358 words, Alastair Craig

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jim Cousins
Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central