Julian Huppert

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Julian Huppert
Julian Huppert MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Cambridge
In office
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by David Howarth
Succeeded by Daniel Zeichner
Personal details
Born Julian Leon Huppert
(1978-07-21) 21 July 1978 (age 38)[1]
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Dr Caroline Wright[1]
Parents Herbert Huppert, Felicia Huppert
Alma mater University of Cambridge (MSci, PhD)
Website www.libdems.org.uk/julian_huppert
Scientific career
Thesis Studies on genomic G-quadruplexes (2005)
Doctoral advisor Shankar Balasubramanian[2]
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry[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 parliamentary constituency. He succeeded the previously elected David Howarth, who stood down after one term.[6] After one term in office he failed in his bid to be reelected, and was replaced by Daniel Zeichner of the Labour Party.

Early life and education[edit]

The son of two academics (Australian-born geophysicist Herbert Huppert and psychologist Felicia Huppert), Huppert has lived in Cambridge since he was a small child. Having attended The Perse School in the city, Huppert went on to study at the Trinity College, Cambridge, completing an Master of Science degree in 2000 followed by a PhD in Biological Chemistry in 2005[7] supervised by Shankar Balasubramanian[3][2] on G-quadruplexes.


After his PhD, Huppert was elected a Junior Research Fellow of Trinity 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.[8]


Julian Huppert at King's College London January 2016

During his eight years serving as a County Councillor on Cambridgeshire County Council for Cambridge's East Chesterton area,[9] Huppert helped open Brown's Field Community Centre, chaired the Cambridge Traffic Management Committee and served on the Regional Assembly. His interests in internationalism, the UN and human rights have led him to his position on the National Council of Liberty, formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties, from which he has since stood down.[10]

Political career[edit]

Huppert unsuccessfully contested Huntingdon at the 2005 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."[11] 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".[12]

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[13] but the proposals failed to make any further progress.

Huppert was involved in a number of All-party parliamentary groups, being joint chair of the Cycling Group,[14] and a vice chair of the Humanist Group,[15] the Refugees group,[16] and the Local Government group.[17] He also sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee.[18]

Huppert, expressed disappointment at scientific understanding amongst MPs,[when?] has been described by Cambridge Liberal Democrats[19] and The independent newspaper[20] 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."[21]

In June 2013 he told the BBC that he has complained of bullying in the Commons after being greeted by collective groans and shouts of "Oh No" when he rises to his feet in the house.[22][23]

When the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader stepped down to take a ministerial post, Huppert was talked about as a possible contender for the post.[24]


Huppert is a cycling safety campaigner and organised[25] and spoke[26] at a parliamentary debate on the subject, as well as passing a motion at the 2013 Liberal Democrat Conference on the subject.[27] His support of the principle of "Proportionate liability" has led to debate in his Cambridge Constituency[28][29] and nationally[30] with the Daily Mail incorrectly stating that the principle would result in motorists being to blame even if the cyclist(s) are breaking the law.[31] Huppert was named one of the most influential people in UK cycling by magazine Bikebiz.[32] and was awarded road safety organisation Brake's Road Safety award in March 2013 for his campaign on 20 mph speed limits[33]

Local campaigns[edit]

Huppert criticised the decision[34] of the competition commission to force Cineworld[35] to sell the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.[36] He has taken 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."[37] and has gained the support of the leader of the house, Andrew Lansley,[38] who then represented the neighbouring constituency of South Cambridgeshire.

In November he launched a campaign[39] to persuade the County Council to invest more in Cambridge's pavements, highlighting the effect even minor damage has on disabled people. The campaign has a website[40] with a reporting tool.[41]

Huppert also campaigned for additional funding for Cambridge schools which received less per student than anywhere else in the country.[42][43]

Awards and honours[edit]

Huppert was nominated the most impressive new Liberal Democrat MP elected in the 2010 election by a party website.[44] Huppert's performance has also been highlighted in a number of publications[45][46][47] and he was named as the top backbencher in the Telegraph's recent list of "Most influential Lib Dems".[48]

Huppert's appearances in the Houses of Commons were often met with jeers from other MPs due to his long-winded questions and interventions in debates.[49]

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".[50]

Huppert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.[3][when?]


  1. ^ a b c HUPPERT, Julian Leon. ukwhoswho.com. Who's Who. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ 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 1140081Freely accessible. PMID 15914667. 
  3. ^ a b c "Dr Julian Huppert MP FRSC". rsc.org. London: Royal Society of Chemistry. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. 
  4. ^ "21/12/2013". Week in Westminster. 21 December 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8740. 13 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Lib Dems pick new city candidate". BBC News. 17 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Huppert, Julian Leon (2005). Studies on genomic G-quadruplexes (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 885437272. 
  8. ^ "Dr Julian Huppert - Research". cam.ac.uk. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council Elections". Cix. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Liberty: Members of the National Council
  11. ^ "Interview with Cambridge MP Julian Huppert". The Cambridge Student. 
  12. ^ "Redwood: Minority government 'easier' for Tories". BBC Today Programme. 10 May 2010. 04.30/05.00 onwards. 
  13. ^ "Ten Minute Rule Motion". BBC Democracy Live. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "About". All-party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 - Refugees". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 - Local Government". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Home Affairs Committee - membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  19. ^ "Science campaigners lobby Parliament with Huppert's backing". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Only scientist in Commons 'alarmed' at MPs' ignorance". 3 August 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Hansard. 2 Nov 2012 : Column 508". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "House of Commons 'bullying' towards Julian Huppert MP". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "Julian Huppert complains of Commons 'bullying'". BBC. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Lib Dem Deputy Leadership – runners and riders. Who's your choice?". libdemvoice.org. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ "Get Britain Cycling Debate - Julian Huppert Winding Up". YouTube. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "LibDem conference votes for cycling motion | Bicycle Business". BikeBiz. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "Fierce debate over Julian Huppert's call for drivers to be blamed for crashes with cyclists". Cambridge News. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "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. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  30. ^ Ray Massey (7 August 2013). "Now Lib Dems want drivers blamed for every crash with a cyclist and fined if a car strays into a bike lane". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  31. ^ "citycycling .legal eagle: strict liability". Citycycling.co.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  32. ^ Chris Havergal. "Cambridge MP Julian Huppert named one of most influential people in UK cycling". Cambridge News. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  33. ^ Brake. "Julian Huppert awarded parliamentarian of the month". Brake. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  34. ^ "CC confirms Cineworld findings | Media Centre". Competition Commission. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  35. ^ 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. 
  36. ^ "Cinema Listings | Arts Picturehouse Cambridge". Picturehouses.co.uk. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  37. ^ "Cambridge Arts Picturehouse: the Competition Commission has got it wrong! - Julian Huppert | MP for Cambridge". julianhuppert.org.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Fight to save Cambridge Arts Picturehouse taken to House of Commons | Cambridge City News, Cambridge Local News Stories & Latest Headlines". cambridge-news.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Cambridge MP takes city tour in a wheelchair | Anglia - ITV News". itv.com. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. We recommend upgrading your browser.". fixourpavements.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. We recommend upgrading your browser.". julianpavements.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "The fight for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire Schools". JulianHuppert. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  43. ^ "Cambridgeshire schools finally get fairer funding deal following years of campaigning by the News and its readers". Cambridge News. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  44. ^ "LDV survey: The new Lib Dem MPs who've impressed party members the most". Lib Dem Voice. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  45. ^ Stamp, Gavin (11 July 2011). "MPs' Class of 2010: End of term report". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  46. ^ "Top 50 New MPs". Total Politics. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "Rising Stars | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  48. ^ "Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 1-25". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  49. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2340900/Im-bullied-Commons-claims-Lib-Dem-John-Bercow-doesnt-help-mocking-dull-MP.html
  50. ^ 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
David Howarth
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
Succeeded by
Daniel Zeichner