Julian Huppert

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Julian Huppert
Julian Huppert 2013.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Cambridge
In office
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byDavid Howarth
Succeeded byDaniel Zeichner
Personal details
Julian Leon Huppert

(1978-07-21) 21 July 1978 (age 43)[1]
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom, United States
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Spouse(s)Dr Caroline Wright[1]
Parent(s)Herbert Huppert
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (MSci, PhD)
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry[2]
Scientific career
ThesisStudies on genomic G-quadruplexes (2005)
Doctoral advisorShankar Balasubramanian[3]

Julian Leon Huppert[5] (born 21 July 1978)[1] is a Liberal Democrat politician in the United Kingdom and former Member of Parliament for Cambridge from 2010 to 2015.

He succeeded David Howarth, who stood down after one term as an MP.[6] At the 2015 general election he lost the seat to Daniel Zeichner of the Labour Party by 599 votes, and he subsequently failed to retake at the 2017 general election.

Early life and education[edit]

Huppert is the son of Australian-born geophysicist Herbert Huppert and psychologist Felicia Huppert. He was born in the United States, and moved to Cambridge when he was three months old.[7] He had a Jewish upbringing, he and his parents attended Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue in Cambridge;[8] however he has stated that he is an atheist.[9] After attending The Perse School in the city, Huppert spent a year at Sydney Grammar School in Australia, winning a silver medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad in 1995.[10][11] Huppert went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, completing a Master of Science degree in 2000 followed by a PhD in Biological Chemistry in 2005[12] supervised by Shankar Balasubramanian[2][3] on G-quadruplexes.


After his PhD, Huppert was elected a Junior Research Fellow of Trinity College in 2004, and became a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge in 2009 (the College at which the previous Liberal Democrat MP for the city, David Howarth, was a member). He worked as a research scientist studying the structures of DNA as well as tutoring students.[13]

On returning to academic life in 2015, Huppert lectured on science and technology policy at the Cavendish Laboratory, and in 2016 was appointed as the founding director[14] of a new centre, the Intellectual Forum, based at Jesus College.


During his eight years serving as a County Councillor on Cambridgeshire County Council for Cambridge's East Chesterton area,[15] Huppert helped open Brown's Field Community Centre, chaired the Cambridge Traffic Management Committee and served on the Regional Assembly.[citation needed] His interests in internationalism, the UN and human rights led him to a position on the National Council of Liberty, formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties, from 2009 to 2011.[16]

Political career[edit]

Huppert unsuccessfully contested Huntingdon at the 2005 general election, before winning the Cambridge seat in the 2010 general election.

Huppert has stated that he wanted to get involved in politics because he believes in "a free, fair and open society, where nobody should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."[17] In an interview with the BBC's Today programme shortly after his election as an MP, Huppert stated, regarding negotiations with the Conservative party on possible deals to form a coalition, that whilst he found it "very hard to see how a deal could leave out electoral reform [...] if we got all the rest of our manifesto I'd probably live with that".[18]

As an MP, Huppert proposed a bill to prevent the demolition or change of use of pubs or independent shops without planning permission under the Ten Minute Rule in 2012[19] but the proposals failed to make any further progress. In 2013–14 he was an active supporter of and signatory to the Fair Deal For Your Local campaign,[20] which would be the coalition government's only defeat on a legislative vote.

Huppert was involved in a number of All-party parliamentary groups, being joint chair of the Cycling Group,[21] and a vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group,[22] the Refugees group,[23] and the Local Government group.[24] He also sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee.[25]

Huppert expressed disappointment at the lack of scientific understanding amongst MPs.[26] Although he was described by Cambridge Liberal Democrats[27] and The Independent newspaper[28] as "the only scientist" in the House of Commons, in November 2012, Huppert acknowledged other scientists in the House of Commons saying: "Although it has been said that I am the only scientist in the House, that is sadly not true. I am one of two Members with a science PhD and I went on to do research, but there are other scientists in the House and it always a great pleasure to have them here."[29]

In June 2013 he told the BBC that he complained of bullying in the Commons after being greeted by collective groans and shouts of "Oh no" when he rose to his feet in the house.[30][31]

When the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader stepped down to take a ministerial post, Huppert was talked about as a possible contender for the post.[32]

As co-chair of the all party parliamentary cycling group, Huppert helped to produce the landmark report on the future of cycling in Britain, ‘Get Britain Cycling’, in 2013.[33]

Also in 2013, Huppert secured a debate on Education Funding in Cambridgeshire,[34] which resulted in Cambridgeshire schools receiving an extra £23.2 million in government funding, £2.7 million more than originally expected.[35] In 2014, he presented a bill to parliament to improve conditions for those in the private rented sector.[36] Huppert also co-sponsored the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill,[37] which enshrined in law a commitment by the UK to spend 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on aid every year.[38]


Huppert is a cycling safety campaigner and organised[39] and spoke[40] at a parliamentary debate on the subject, as well as passing a motion at the 2013 Liberal Democrat Conference on the subject.[41] His support of the principle of "Proportionate liability" has led to debate in his Cambridge Constituency[42][43] and nationally. Huppert was named one of the most influential people in UK cycling by magazine Bikebiz[44] and was awarded road safety organisation Brake's Road Safety award in March 2013 for his campaign on 20 mph speed limits.[45]

Local campaigns[edit]

Huppert criticised the decision[46] of the competition commission to force Cineworld[47] to sell the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.[48] He took up the issue in Parliament, claiming the competition commissions should be looking into other monopolies in Cambridge: "To be frank, I start to wonder what the value of the Competition Commission is. In Cambridge we have two big problems with monopoly – Stagecoach’s control of the buses, and Tesco’s control of the supermarkets."[49] and gained the support of the then leader of the house, Andrew Lansley,[50] who represented the neighbouring constituency of South Cambridgeshire.

In November 2014 he launched a campaign[51] to persuade the County Council to invest more in Cambridge's pavements, highlighting the effect even minor damage has on disabled people.

Huppert also campaigned for additional funding for Cambridge schools, which received less per student than anywhere else in the country.[52][53]

Awards and honours[edit]

Huppert was nominated the most impressive new Liberal Democrat MP elected in the 2010 election by a party website.[54] Huppert's performance has also been highlighted in a number of publications[55][56][57] and he was named as the top backbencher in the Telegraph's list of "Most influential Lib Dems".[58]

Huppert was awarded the "Internet Hero of the year award" by the Internet Service Providers Association for his involvement in the campaign against the Draft Communications Data Bill, also known as the "Snooper's Charter".[59]

Huppert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.[2][when?]


  1. ^ a b c "HUPPERT, Julian Leon". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c "Dr Julian Huppert MP FRSC". rsc.org. London: Royal Society of Chemistry. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b Huppert, J. L.; Balasubramanian, S. (2005). "Prevalence of quadruplexes in the human genome". Nucleic Acids Research. 33 (9): 2908–2916. doi:10.1093/nar/gki609. PMC 1140081. PMID 15914667.
  4. ^ "21/12/2013". Week in Westminster. 21 December 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  5. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8740.
  6. ^ "Lib Dems pick new city candidate". BBC News. 17 January 2010.
  7. ^ Twitter https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/1309215712540532741. Retrieved 24 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ thejc.com https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/julian-huppert-profile-1.439474. Retrieved 15 May 2020. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Julian Huppert". Humanists UK. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Julian Huppert questions police over the phone hacking affair". J-Wire. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  11. ^ "IChO: Country data for individuals". www.icho-official.org.
  12. ^ Huppert, Julian Leon (2005). Studies on genomic G-quadruplexes (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 885437272.
  13. ^ "Dr Julian Huppert – Research". cam.ac.uk. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016.
  14. ^ College, Jesus. "Former MP Julian Huppert appointed director of new Cambridge centre". Jesus College University of Cambridge. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council Elections". Cix. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  16. ^ "Liberty: Members of the National Council" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Interview with Cambridge MP Julian Huppert". The Cambridge Student.
  18. ^ "Redwood: Minority government 'easier' for Tories". BBC Today Programme. 10 May 2010. 04.30/05.00 onwards.
  19. ^ "Ten Minute Rule Motion". BBC Democracy Live. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Early day motion 57 – FAIR DEAL FOR YOUR LOCAL CAMPAIGN". UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  21. ^ "About". All-party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  22. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 – Refugees". Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  24. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 – Local Government". Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Home Affairs Committee – membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  26. ^ "Only scientist in Commons 'alarmed' at MPs' ignorance". The Independent. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Science campaigners lobby Parliament with Huppert's backing". Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Only scientist in Commons 'alarmed' at MPs' ignorance". Independent.co.uk. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Hansard. 2 Nov 2012 : Column 508". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  30. ^ "House of Commons 'bullying' towards Julian Huppert MP". BBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  31. ^ "Julian Huppert complains of Commons 'bullying'". BBC News. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Lib Dem Deputy Leadership – runners and riders. Who's your choice?". libdemvoice.org. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  33. ^ "Get Britain Cycling". 16 October 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  34. ^ "Education Funding (Cambridgeshire): 8 Jan 2013: Westminster Hall debates – TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Extra Funding For Cambridgeshire Schools". Heart Cambridgeshire. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  36. ^ Huppert, Julian (19 March 2014). "Julian Huppert: New rules will help end extortionate fees for private tenants". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  37. ^ Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 02 July 2014 (pt 0001)". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  38. ^ Anderson, Mark (9 March 2015). "UK passes bill to honour pledge of 0.7% foreign aid target". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  39. ^ "Debate on Cycling APPG report 'Get Britain Cycling' – News from Parliament – UK Parliament". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  40. ^ "Get Britain Cycling Debate – Julian Huppert Winding Up". YouTube. 2 September 2013. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  41. ^ "LibDem conference votes for cycling motion | Bicycle Business". BikeBiz. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  42. ^ "Fierce debate over Julian Huppert's call for drivers to be blamed for crashes with cyclists". Cambridge News. 10 August 2013. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  43. ^ "It's 'very silly', says police boss of Cambridge MP Julian Huppert's plan to make drivers liable for crashes with cyclists | Cambridge City News, Cambridge Local News Stories & Latest Headlines". Cambridge-news.co.uk. 19 September 2013. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  44. ^ Chris Havergal. "Cambridge MP Julian Huppert named one of most influential people in UK cycling". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  45. ^ Brake. "Julian Huppert awarded parliamentarian of the month". Brake. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  46. ^ "CC confirms Cineworld findings | Media Centre". Competition Commission. 8 October 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  47. ^ this cinema. "Cineworld Cinemas: Latest Movies, 3D Films, Bollywood, Movies for Juniors, Theatre and Opera Performances on our Digital, Dbox and Imax Screens". Cineworld.co.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  48. ^ "Cinema Listings | Arts Picturehouse Cambridge". Picturehouses.co.uk. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  49. ^ "Cambridge Arts Picturehouse: the Competition Commission has got it wrong! - Julian Huppert | MP for Cambridge". julianhuppert.org.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  50. ^ "Fight to save Cambridge Arts Picturehouse taken to House of Commons | Cambridge City News, Cambridge Local News Stories & Latest Headlines". cambridge-news.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  51. ^ "Cambridge MP takes city tour in a wheelchair | Anglia – ITV News". itv.com. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  52. ^ "The fight for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire Schools". JulianHuppert. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  53. ^ "Cambridgeshire schools finally get fairer funding deal following years of campaigning by the News and its readers". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  54. ^ "LDV survey: The new Lib Dem MPs who've impressed party members the most". Lib Dem Voice. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  55. ^ Stamp, Gavin (11 July 2011). "MPs' Class of 2010: End of term report". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  56. ^ "Top 50 New MPs". Total Politics. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  57. ^ "Rising Stars | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  58. ^ "Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 1-25". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  59. ^ Technology. "Julian Huppert beats Nick Clegg to Internet Hero of the year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2013.

Further reading[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Cambridge
Succeeded by