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Rupa Asha Huq (Bengali: রাবেয়া "রূপা" আশা হক; born 2 April 1972) is a British Labour Party politician, columnist and academic. 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.

Rupa Huq
Official portrait of Dr Rupa Huq crop 2.jpg
Huq in June 2017
Member of Parliament
for Ealing Central and Acton
In office
8 May 2015 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byAngie Bray
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority13,807 (24.9%)
Personal details
Born
Rupa Asha Huq

(1972-04-02) 2 April 1972 (age 47)
Hammersmith, London, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyLabour
RelationsMohammed Huq (father)
Rowshan Ara Huq (mother)
Nutun Huq (sister)
Konnie Huq (sister)
Children1
ResidenceEaling, London, England
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
University of East London
Marc Bloch University
OccupationWriter, columnist, politician, senior lecturer, music DJ
ProfessionPolitician
Websitewww.rupahuq.co.uk

Early lifeEdit

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][4] 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).[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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 later 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,[8] comparing young people in East London and the Alsace region of France,[9] 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,[10] 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.[11][12][13]

Teaching careerEdit

In 1998, Huq moved to Manchester.[12] From 1998 to 2004, she was a lecturer at the Victoria University of Manchester,[8] during which time she held a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship.[8][14]

From September 2004 until 2015,[15] Huq was a senior lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Kingston University[9] in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.[14] She has also taught Media and Cultural Studies.[16]

Writing and media careerEdit

Huq has contributed to Tribune, The Guardian, New Statesman, Progress magazine[17] and The Times Higher Education Supplement.[1] Huq's research specialism has chiefly been youth culture and pop music.[9] She has a particular interest in David Bowie.[18]

In 2006, her book Beyond Subculture: youth, pop and identity in a post-colonial world[19] on these themes was published. It was subsequently one of five titles shortlisted for the 2007 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.[10][14] In May 2012, her second book Making Sense of Suburbia through Popular Culture was published.[20][21] 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 DJ-ing for a hospital radio station when I was about 17 and now I DJ in clubs and bars in Manchester".[12][22]

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.[10][23]

In 2005, she stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate in Chesham and Amersham at the 2005 general election.[24]

In 2008, she served on a UK government Foreign and Commonwealth "Understanding Islam" delegation to Bangladesh.[15]

In 2010, Huq was one of three Labour candidates standing for a council seat in Walpole in the constituency of Ealing.[23]

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.[16][25][26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29][30][31][32]

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%.[33][34][35]

In April 2017, the Green Party decided not 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."[36] 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."[37][38][39] In June 2017, in the general election, Huq retained her seat with an increased majority.[40][41][42]

PositionsEdit

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.[15] 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.[43] Huq led from the frontbench on the bill before the House of Commons to equalise Civil Partnerships to include heterosexual couples.[44]

Views and eventsEdit

Labour PartyEdit

In June 2015, she was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election,[45] although she later supported Yvette Cooper.[46][47]

She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[48]

Racial issuesEdit

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 ín 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]

BrexitEdit

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.

OtherEdit

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 students to list Conservative strengths and Labour weaknesses.[67] 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".[68]

Personal lifeEdit

Huq is married and has a son, Rafi (born 2004).[69][70][71][72] Her elder sister, Nutun, is an architect.[73] Her younger sister is former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.[74][75]

Her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, and died on 5 September 2014.[76] Her mother died on 21 May 2017 after being ill for several months.[77]

Huq speaks English, Bengali, French and Hindi.[78]

BooksEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit