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

Rupa Huq

Official portrait of Dr Rupa Huq crop 2.jpg
Huq in June 2017
Member of Parliament
for Ealing Central and Acton
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAngie Bray
Majority13,807 (24.9%)
Personal details
Rupa Asha Huq

(1972-04-02) 2 April 1972 (age 47)
Hammersmith, London, England
Political partyLabour
RelationsMohammed Huq (father)
Rowshan Ara Huq (mother)
Nutun Huq (sister)
Konnie Huq (sister)
ResidenceEaling, London, England
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
University of East London
Marc Bloch University
OccupationWriter, columnist, politician, senior lecturer, music DJ


Early lifeEdit

Huq was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Hammersmith, London, England,[1] and grew up on Brunswick Road, Ealing[2] 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]

She attended Notting Hill and Ealing High School. In 1993, she graduated with a 2:1 in BA Political and Social Sciences and Law from Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1999, she completed a PhD in cultural studies thesis on youth culture at the University of East London,[3] comparing young people in East London and the Alsace region of France,[4] 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,[5] shadowing Labour MEP Carole Tongue, and finding herself subjected to sexual harassment by an MEP.[6][7]

Huq's father, Muhammad Huq,[8][9] and mother, Rowshan Ara Huq, emigrated to Britain in 1962 to enable their children to have better opportunities and a higher level of education than was available in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).[10] 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.[11] 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 started another restaurant in Harrow but later retired.[12]

Teaching careerEdit

In 1998, Huq moved to Manchester.[6] From 1998 to 2004, she was a lecturer at the Victoria University of Manchester,[3] during which time she held a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship.[3][13]

From September 2004 until 2015,[14] Huq was a senior lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University[4] in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.[13] She has also taught Media and Cultural Studies.[15]

Writing and media careerEdit

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.[4] 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.[5][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 is also a music DJ under the stage name "Dr Huq" and recorded a jingle for John Peel in Bengali. She first started DJ-ing for a hospital radio station at the age of 17.[6][21]

Early political careerEdit

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.[5][22]

In 2005, she stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate in the safe Conservative seat of Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire (Conservative majority of 11,882) at the 2005 general election.[23] She came third, receiving 6,610 votes[22] and lost to the incumbent Conservative candidate Cheryl Gillan who had 25,619 votes.[15]

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 2010, after the local elections, she became the deputy mayoress of the London Borough of Ealing for the municipal year 2010[24]–2011.[25]

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][26][27] 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.[28] 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.[29][30][31][32][33]

Parliamentary careerEdit

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%.[34][35][36] In June of the same year, she was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election,[37] although she later supported Yvette Cooper.[38][39] Huq was appointed vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Music Group and All-Party Parliamentary on Crossrail. She is also chairing an All-Party Parliamentary Group on London, with specific reference to planning and the built environment.[14] Since her election, Huq has also been a member of the Justice Select Committee. 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".[40][41] Huq later apologised claiming she was not "fully aware" of Shah's comments before defending her.[42]

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.[43][44][45][46]

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

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.[48] Huq led from the frontbench on the bill before the House of Commons to equalise Civil Partnerships to include heterosexual couples.[49] Huq is a member of the Labour Friends of Israel.[50]

In April 2017, the Green Party decided not to run a candidate to contest her seat in the general election. They said "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, so for those reasons we won't tell our members to vote for her, but we will say we're not going to stand against her."[51] Huq said of the Progressive alliance,[52] "I welcome the decision and indeed offers of help from anyone who'll lend a hand in a tight race. The local Green Party knows that I am an MP who is a resolute remainer that 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."[52] In May 2017, Vince Cable, who went on to be Liberal Democrat leader, commented that if he lived in Ealing Central and Acton he would not vote for his own party but would support Huq. In a recording of a public meeting 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."[53][54][55] In June 2017, in the general election, Huq retained her seat with an increased majority of 13,807,[56][57][58] which represented a 16% vote increase from 2015 and a 60% share of the total vote.

In January 2018, she said that the A Level history syllabus was biased against Labour because it misses out the 1945–51 Labour government, ends just before Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997 and asks students to list Conservative strengths and Labour weaknesses.[59] In February, in personal film for the Daily Politics series, Huq claimed 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".[60]

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.[61][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 May 2018, Huq told colleagues in Westminster Hall[64] that BAME MPs regularly have their access to the House of Commons estate questioned.[65] 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."[64]

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."[66][67] 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."[66][68] which was followed by raucous laughter in the House of Commons.

In June 2019, Huq was accused by two former employees of anti-Semitic behaviour. The Jewish Labour Movement called for her to have the party whip suspended ín consequence.[69]

Personal lifeEdit

Huq is married and has a son, Rafi (born 2004).[70][71][72][73] Her elder sister, Nutun, is an architect.[74] Her younger sister is former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.[75][76]

In 2008, her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and died on 5 September 2014.[77] On 21 May 2017, her mother died after months of long-term illness.[78] In October 2017, Huq told Sky News that she was sexually harassed when she was in her 20s by a male MEP at the European Parliament when she was a post-graduate student in the 1990s.[79]

Huq speaks English, Bengali, French and Hindi.[80]


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 alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit