A Labor MP has been suspended from the party after she was accused of making “racist” comments about the chancellor.
Rupa Huq was administratively suspended pending an investigation after she claimed Kwasi Kwarteng was “superficially” black.
The MP for Ealing Central and Acton made the remarks about Britain’s first black chancellor at a Labor conference fringe event on Monday titled “What’s Next for Labour’s Agenda on Race?”
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Jake Berry, the chairman of the Conservative Party, had condemned Ms Huq’s “disgusting” comments before her suspension and called on Sir Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, to remove the whip.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, called on Ms Huq to apologize and take “immediate action” over the “completely unacceptable” remarks.
‘You wouldn’t know he’s black’
In audio published online by the Guido Fawkes website, Ms Huq says of Mr Kwarteng: “On the surface he is a black man.
“He went to Eton, I think, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through, the best schools in the country.
“If you hear him on the Today show, you wouldn’t know he’s black.”
Labor said: “We condemn the remarks and call on her to retract them and apologise.”
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In a letter to Sir Keir on Tuesday, Mr Berry said the Labor leader must take action against Ms Huq.
Expressing his “serious concerns”, he wrote: “During an event organized by the UK’s Future and Black Equity Organization and attended by Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Anneliese Dodds, Rupa Huq made a series of racist comments about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Quasi Quarteng.”
He continued: “Sunder Katwala, the event’s chairman, was forced to respond to her appalling comments about the chancellor by saying his conservative views ‘don’t make him not black… and I think the Labor Party should be really careful’..
“I trust you will join me in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing short of racist and that the Labor whip will be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence.”
In a tweet, Mr Katwala said Ms Dodds was no longer at the meeting when the comments were made.
David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, told the BBC the remarks were “unfortunate” and Ms Huq should “stand down”.
Also speaking to the broadcaster, Ms Rayner said: “She should apologize for those comments.
“For me, these comments are completely unacceptable.
“I think Rupa needs to reflect on what she has said and she needs to act immediately.”
Sajid Javid, the Conservative former health secretary, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the comments.
“Instead of encouraging racists and people who seek to divide us, she should know better,” he wrote on social media.
“Not too late for her to show that she does.”
The suspension came shortly after Sir Keir finished his conference speech, which he used to argue is now a “Labour moment” for the party to provide the leadership the nation “so desperately needs”.