Julian Huppert

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dr 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
Majority 6,792 (13.5%)
Personal details
Born (1978-07-21) 21 July 1978 (age 37)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Political party Liberal Democrats
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Politician
Profession Academic, scientist

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

He succeeded the previously elected David Howarth, who stood down after one term.[2] 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 academia[edit]

Trinity College, Cambridge
from the BBC programme Week in Westminster, 21 December 2013[3]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

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 Cambridge University, completing a BA (2000) and then a PhD (2005) in Biological Chemistry at Trinity College. He was elected a Junior Research Fellow of Trinity in 2004, and became a fellow of Clare College in 2009 (the College at which the previous Liberal Democrat MP for the city, David Howarth, was a member). He is also a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and the Institute of Physics (MInstP). He worked as a research scientist studying the structures of DNA as well as tutoring students.[4]


During his eight years serving as a County Councillor on Cambridgeshire County Council for Cambridge's East Chesterton area,[5] 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.[6]

Political career[edit]

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."[7] 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".[8]

Huppert's attendance at votes in the House of Commons over the 2010-15 Parliament was 77%.[9]

Julian Huppert was amongst the Lib Dem rebels opposing capping benefit increases.[10]

He voted against tuition fee increases, saying "we got it completely wrong and the message was awful".[11] However, he did not vote for tuition fees to be reduced to £6000.[9]

He was the only Liberal Democrat MP to vote against airstrikes against ISIL[12] and also opposed military action in Syria.

Huppert voted for the second but against the third reading of the Health and Social Care Bill. He backed an unsuccessful Liberal Democrat amendment which called for the details of healthcare reform to be decided by a summit of healthcare professionals[13] but voted against an amendment calling for the bill to be dropped in favour of cross party talks on NHS reform.[14]

He voted with his party to support a Labour amendment aiming to restrict the "bedroom tax" to apply only tenants that had refused reasonable offers of alternative accommodation,[15] but had supported the introduction of the housing benefit penalty in previous votes.[16] Subsequently, Julian Huppert voted against a Labour amendment calling for the bedroom tax to be scrapped.[17]

Huppert proposed a bill to prevent the demolition or change of use pubs or independent shops without planning permission under the Ten Minute Rule in 2012[18] but the proposals failed to make any further progress.

In 2015 Huppert proposed an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill to protect journalistic sources from police investigation[19]

Huppert is involved in a number of All-party parliamentary groups, being joint chair of the Cycling Group,[20] and a vice chair of the Humanist Group,[21] the Refugees group,[22] and the Local Government group.[23] He has campaigned in Parliament on many issues, including scrapping Britain's nuclear weapons. He also sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee.[24]

Huppert, who has expressed disappointment at scientific understanding amongst MPs, has been described by Cambridge Liberal Democrats[25] and others[26] as "the only scientist" in the House of Commons. However, back in November 2012, Julian Huppert acknowledged other scientists in the house 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."[27]

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.[28][29]

When the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader stepped down to take a ministerial post, Huppert was talked about as a possible contender for the post.[30]

Huppert is a signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.[31]


Huppert is a cycling safety campaigner and organised[32] and spoke[33] at a parliamentary debate on the subject, as well as passing a motion at the 2013 Liberal Democrat Conference on the subject.[34] His support of the principle of "Proportionate liability" has led to debate in his Cambridge Constituency[35][36] and nationally[37] 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.[38] Huppert was named one of the most influential people in UK cycling by magazine Bikebiz.[39] and was awarded road safety organisation Brake's Road Safety award in March 2013 for his campaign on 20 mph speed limits[40]


Huppert was called the most impressive new Liberal Democrat MP elected in the 2010 election by a party website.[41] Huppert's performance has also been highlighted in a number of publications[42][43][44] and he was named as the top backbencher in the Telegraph's recent list of "Most influential Lib Dems".[45]

Huppert was awarded the "Internet Hero of the year award" by the Internet Service Providers Association for his involvement in the campaign against the Communications Data Bill, also known as the "Snooper's Charter".[46]

Local campaigns[edit]

Huppert criticised the decision[47] of the competition commission to force Cineworld[48] to sell the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.[49] 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."[50] and has gained the support of the leader of the house, Andrew Lansley,[51] who then represented the neighbouring constituency of South Cambridgeshire.

In November he launched a campaign[52] 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[53] with a reporting tool.[54]

Huppert also campaigned for additional funding for Cambridge schools which received less per student than anywhere else in the country.[55][56]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59418. p. 8740. 13 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Lib Dems pick new city candidate". BBC News. 17 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "21/12/2013". Week in Westminster. 21 December 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  4. ^ University of Cambridge: Dr Julian Huppert: Research Councils UK Academic Fellow in Computational Biology: Biophysics and Bioinformatics of Nucleic Acids
  5. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council Elections". Cix. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Liberty: Members of the National Council
  7. ^ "Interview with Cambridge MP Julian Huppert". The Cambridge Student. 
  8. ^ "Redwood: Minority government 'easier' for Tories". BBC Today Programme. 10 May 2010. 04.30/05.00 onwards. 
  9. ^ a b "Public Whip". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Eaton, George (22 January 2013). "Nine Lib Dems rebel as Osborne's welfare bill clears another hurdle". New Statesman. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Engel, Matthew (8 February 2015). "Cambridge students find it hard to forget Clegg's broken promise". Financial Times. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Iraq vote: the 43 rebel MPs". New Statesman. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Government sees off rebel challenge to NHS bill". BBC. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Public Whip". Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Huppert, Julian. "Watering down 'bedroom tax' backed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert". Cambridge News. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Excess Bedroom Benefit Penalty for Social Tenants". Public Whip. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Public Whip". Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Ten Minute Rule Motion". BBC Democracy Live. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Wintour, Patrick (10 February 2015). "Clegg urges May to pass law protecting journalistic sources from police". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "About". All-party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 - Refugees". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  23. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups as at 14 March 2013 - Local Government". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Home Affairs Committee - membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  25. ^ "Science campaigners lobby Parliament with Huppert's backing". Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Only scientist in Commons 'alarmed' at MPs' ignorance". 3 August 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  27. ^ "Hansard. 2 Nov 2012 : Column 508". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "House of Commons 'bullying' towards Julian Huppert MP". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Julian Huppert complains of Commons 'bullying'". BBC. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  30. ^ "Lib Dem Deputy Leadership – runners and riders. Who's your choice?". libdemvoice.org. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Signatories". Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "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. 
  33. ^ "Get Britain Cycling Debate - Julian Huppert Winding Up". YouTube. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  34. ^ "LibDem conference votes for cycling motion | Bicycle Business". BikeBiz. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  35. ^ "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. 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ "citycycling .legal eagle: strict liability". Citycycling.co.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  39. ^ Chris Havergal. "Cambridge MP Julian Huppert named one of most influential people in UK cycling". Cambridge News. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  40. ^ Brake. "Julian Huppert awarded parliamentarian of the month". Brake. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  41. ^ "LDV survey: The new Lib Dem MPs who’ve impressed party members the most". Lib Dem Voice. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  42. ^ Stamp, Gavin (11 July 2011). "MPs' Class of 2010: End of term report". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  43. ^ "Top 50 New MPs". Total Politics. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  44. ^ "Rising Stars | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  45. ^ "Top 50 most influential Liberal Democrats: 1-25". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  46. ^ Technology. "Julian Huppert beats Nick Clegg to Internet Hero of the year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "CC confirms Cineworld findings | Media Centre". Competition Commission. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  48. ^ 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. 
  49. ^ "Cinema Listings | Arts Picturehouse Cambridge". Picturehouses.co.uk. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  50. ^ "Cambridge Arts Picturehouse: the Competition Commission has got it wrong! - Julian Huppert | MP for Cambridge". julianhuppert.org.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  51. ^ "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. 
  52. ^ "Cambridge MP takes city tour in a wheelchair | Anglia - ITV News". itv.com. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  53. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. We recommend upgrading your browser.". fixourpavements.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  54. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. We recommend upgrading your browser.". julianpavements.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  55. ^ "The fight for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire Schools". JulianHuppert. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  56. ^ "Cambridgeshire schools finally get fairer funding deal following years of campaigning by the News and its readers". Cambridge News. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Howarth
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
Succeeded by
Daniel Zeichner