Rupa Huq

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Rupa Huq

Official portrait of Dr Rupa Huq MP crop 2.jpg
Huq in 2019
Member of Parliament
for Ealing Central and Acton
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAngie Bray
Majority13,300 (24.3%)
Personal details
Rupa Asha Huq

(1972-04-02) 2 April 1972 (age 49)
Hammersmith, London, England
Political partyLabour
RelationsKonnie Huq (sister)
ParentsMohammed Huq
Rowshan Ara Huq
ResidenceEaling, London, England
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
University of East London
Marc Bloch University
OccupationWriter, columnist, politician, senior lecturer, music DJ

Rupa Asha Huq (Bengali: রাবেয়া "রূপা" আশা হক; born 2 April 1972) is a British Labour Party politician, columnist and academic. Elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Ealing Central and Acton at the 2015 general election, she was formerly a senior lecturer in sociology at Kingston University.

Early life[edit]

Huq was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith, London, England,[1] and grew up on Brunswick Road, Ealing[2] Huq's father, Muhammad Huq,[3] and mother, Rowshan Ara Huq, immigrated to Britain in 1962 to enable their children to have better opportunities and a higher level of education than was available in East Pakistan (since 1971 Bangladesh).[4] Huq's father (who was also known as Abedul) came from Maksedpur in Pabna city, while her mother (who was also known as Dulali Biswas) was from Kuthipara.[5] Huq's father was training to become an actuary for The Prudential, but gave that up to start an Indian restaurant in Soho, London. After the recession of the early 1990s, the council did not renew the restaurant's lease so the business folded. He opened another restaurant in Harrow but later retired.[6]

She attended Montpelier Primary School in Ealing. In 1980, at the age of eight, Huq was featured in the BBC Schools programme Look and Read when the programme visited the school.[1] For her secondary education she attended the private Notting Hill and Ealing High School.

In 1993, she graduated with an upper second in Political and Social Sciences and Law from Newnham College, Cambridge, for a BA. In 1999, she completed a PhD in cultural studies with a thesis on youth culture at the University of East London,[7] comparing young people in East London and the Alsace region of France,[8] which included being a post-graduate at Strasbourg II University in France during which time she also worked at the European Parliament for the Labour Party,[9] shadowing Labour MEP Carole Tongue. In October 2017, Huq told Sky News that she had been sexually harassed by a male MEP at this time.[10][11][12]

Teaching career[edit]

In 1998, Huq moved to Manchester.[11] From 1998 to 2004, she was a lecturer at the Victoria University of Manchester,[7] during which time she held a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship.[7][13]

From September 2004 until 2015,[14] Huq was a senior lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University[8] in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.[13] She has also taught Media and Cultural Studies.[15]

Writing and media career[edit]

Huq has contributed to Tribune, The Guardian, New Statesman, Progress magazine[16] and The Times Higher Education Supplement.[1] Huq's research specialism has chiefly been youth culture and pop music.[8] She has a particular interest in David Bowie.[17]

In 2006, her book Beyond Subculture: youth, pop and identity in a post-colonial world[18] on these themes was published. It was subsequently one of five titles shortlisted for the 2007 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.[9][13] In May 2012, her second book Making Sense of Suburbia through Popular Culture was published.[19][20] Huq was a contributor to the 2011 book What Next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation, published by Queensferry Publishing. In 2013, her books On the Edge: The Contested Cultures of English Suburbia After 7/7 and Making Sense of Suburbia Through Popular Culture were published.

Huq has appeared on Channel S and Bangla TV as well as Channel 4 News and BBC News 24.[1] On radio, she has been on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Asian Network.[1]

Huq says that she has been a part-time DJ, saying in 2004, "I first started DJing for a hospital radio station when I was about 17 and now I DJ in clubs and bars in Manchester".[11][21]

Early political career[edit]

Huq in 2006

Huq was a researcher for Tony Banks and Patricia Hewitt. In 2004, she stood as a candidate for Labour in the European Parliament election in North West England.[9][22]

In 2005, she stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate in Chesham and Amersham at the 2005 general election.[23]

In 2008, she served on a UK government Foreign and Commonwealth "Understanding Islam" delegation to Bangladesh.[14]

In 2010, Huq was one of three Labour candidates standing for a council seat in Walpole in the constituency of Ealing.[22]

In November 2013, Huq was chosen by Labour as their prospective parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton constituency to challenge Conservative MP Angie Bray at the 2015 general election.[15][24][25] In January 2015, she was one of 15 Labour candidates each given financial support of £10,000 by Lord Matthew Oakeshott, the former Liberal Democrat.[26] During the election campaign, Huq was manhandled by the former vice-chairman of the local Conservative branch, Karim Sacoor, who was caught on video repeatedly attempting to drag her away from Boris Johnson, who was campaigning with her Conservative rival Angie Bray.[27][28][29][30][31]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In May 2015, Huq won the Ealing Central and Acton seat with 22,002 votes, previous incumbent Angie Bray received 21,728 votes, with a turnout of 71.4%.[32][33][34]

In April 2017, the Green Party decided not to contest her seat in the general election, commenting, "By and large we quite like Rupa. She has made quite prominent statements on proportional representation and Heathrow, as well as climate change and environmental issues in regards to Brexit."[35] In May 2017, Vince Cable commented how he gave Huq a lift home from a joint speaking engagement, saying, "We talked for a couple of hours, and it was very clear that on almost every issue our views were almost identical. And so I would find it difficult to vote against somebody like that, and I hope that our people around the country are discriminating and think and act in a constructive way."[36][37][38] In June 2017, in the general election, Huq retained her seat with an increased majority.[39][40][41]


Huq was appointed vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Music Group and All-Party Parliamentary on Crossrail. She chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on London, with specific reference to planning and the built environment.[14] Since her election, Huq has been a member of the Justice Select Committee.

In October 2016, Huq was appointed as a member of the Shadow Home Affairs team in the Labour Party's frontbench in Parliament. She is Shadow Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention.[42] Huq led from the frontbench on the bill before the House of Commons to equalise Civil Partnerships to include heterosexual couples.[43]

Political views[edit]

Labour Party[edit]

In June 2015, she was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election,[44] although she later supported Yvette Cooper.[45][46]

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[47]

She nominated Keir Starmer as a candidate in the 2020 Labour leadership election.[48]

Racial issues[edit]

In April 2016, Huq defended suspended Labour MP Naz Shah during an interview on BBC's Today programme by comparing "alleged anti-Semitic" posts about Israel shared by Shah on social media to a photo Huq shared of Boris Johnson on a zip-wire next to Barack Obama. She also stressed the fact that Shah's comments were made before she became an MP and that some online comments should not be taken seriously. Subsequently, Huq was accused of "trivialising racism".[49][50] Huq later apologised, saying she was not "fully aware" of Shah's comments before defending her.[51]

In April 2016, Huq criticised BBC and ITV productions for demonstrating inferiority to other races, claiming that some areas of television had yet to move forward from the sitcoms of the 1970s. She also criticised Citizen Khan's "Islamophobic" depiction of a "quite backward" family of Muslims.[52][53][54][55]

In March 2018, Huq received a suspicious package containing an anti-Islamic letter and sticky liquid. The substance was later found to be harmless. Similar packages were received by fellow Labour MPs Mohammad Yasin, Rushanara Ali and Afzal Khan.[56][57]

In May 2018, Huq told colleagues in Westminster Hall[58] that BAME MPs regularly have their access to the House of Commons estate questioned.[59] She said: "I have been stopped more times in this place since my election in 2015, than in 43 years outside." Furthermore, Huq and fellow Labour MP Tulip Siddiq are mistaken for one another, though they do not look alike. Huq added: "I imagine most BME MPs have encountered it in some form or other."[58]

In June 2019, Huq was the subject of formal complaints to the Labour Party by two former employees for alleged anti-Semitic behaviour. The Jewish Labour Movement called for her to have the party whip suspended in consequence.[60] The allegations were dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Huq had resigned from Labour Friends of Israel shortly before the allegations were made.[61]


In May 2017, Huq said "I am an MP who is a resolute remainer ... I will continue to fight for the UK to stay in the EU and vote accordingly. For me this is respecting the will of the people in Ealing, Acton and Chiswick."[62]

In April 2018, whilst writing for Business Insider Huq said, Brexit is "not carved into concrete, untouchable and unchangeable" arguing that "If the cost of Brexit reaches a point where the British people decide it's not worth it, then they're perfectly entitled to change their minds about whether it's the right path."[63]

In December 2018, she accused UK Prime Minister Theresa May of having "a sort of premature parliamentary ejaculation—that has put the lie to the claim that she sticks to her guns."[64][65] over her decision to delay a parliamentary vote on the government's Brexit deal. May responded with "I think she will see that I am not capable of a parliamentary ejaculation",[64][66] which was followed by raucous laughter in the House of Commons.

Politics teaching[edit]

In January 2018, she said that the A Level history syllabus was biased against Labour because it omitted the 1945–51 Labour government, ends just before Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997 and asks pupils to list Conservative strengths and Labour weaknesses.[67] In February, in personal film for the Daily Politics series, Huq said it was "dangerous to deny that these things [BlairBrown administrations, or the post-war Labour government which brought in the welfare state and National Health Service] ever happened" and she argued there was a pro-Conservative bias to what was being taught with a risk of "brainwashing our kids".[68]

Personal life[edit]

Huq has a son, Rafi (born 2004).[69][70][71] Her elder sister, Nutun, is an architect. Her younger sister is former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.[1]

Her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, and died on 5 September 2014.[72] Her mother died on 21 May 2017 after being ill for several months.[73]

Huq speaks English, Bengali, French and Hindi.[74]


Year Title Publisher ISBN
2006 Beyond Subculture: Pop, Youth and Identity in a Postcolonial World Bloomsbury Academic ISBN 978-0415278157
2013 Making Sense of Suburbia Through Popular Culture Routledge ISBN 978-1780932248
On the Edge: The Contested Cultures of English Suburbia Lawrence and Wishart ISBN 978-1907103728
2016 Reading the Riot Act: Reflections on the 2011 urban disorders in England Routledge ISBN 978-1138648388

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ Lewis, Roz (26 June 2011). "Konnie Huq talks about money". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
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  11. ^ a b c "Spin doctor Rupa aims to be No 1". Manchester Evening News. Manchester. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Labour MP Rupa Huq: I was sexually harassed by MEP in my 20s | Politics News". Sky News. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  13. ^ a b c "Dr Rupa Huq". Kingston University. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Karim, Mohammed Abdul; Karim, Shahadoth (November 2015). British Bangladeshi Who's Who (PDF). British Bangla Media Group. p. 14. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
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  35. ^ Bulman, May (28 April 2017). "Green Party pulls out of crucial general election seat to help Labour beat Tories". The Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
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  48. ^ Huq, Rupa [@RupaHuq] (10 January 2020). "After attending hustings and speaking to the candidates I have nominated Keir Starmer" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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  64. ^ a b "Exiting the European Union". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). London: Hansard. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
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  66. ^ McKiernan, Jennifer (10 December 2018). "Theresa May accused of 'premature parliamentary ejaculation'". Yahoo News. London. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
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  68. ^ "Labour MP Rupa Huq on history lessons in schools". BBC News. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  69. ^ "Victorious Rupa Huq says Theresa May 'got her comeuppance'". Evening Standard.
  70. ^ "Chesham & Amersham: Rupa Huq (Labour)". Chesham and Amersham. 25 April 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  71. ^ Huq, Rupa (13 November 2015). "As an MP and a mother I've found out how sexist Westminster is". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  72. ^ "Exclusive: Konnie Huq reveals why she became a volunteer". Daily Mirror. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  73. ^ "Death of Rowshan Huq". Acton: Acton W3. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  74. ^ Eaton, George (7 May 2015). "The war at home: the battle for Ealing Central & Acton". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 May 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Angie Bray
Member of Parliament for Ealing Central and Acton