| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

UK’s Labour suspends lawmaker for saying Kwarteng ‘superficially’ Black

An opposition Labour lawmaker was suspended from the party on Tuesday after being accused of making racist comments about British finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng, with a party spokesperson saying it would call on her to apologize.

Rupa Huq, a lawmaker who represents an area of west London, was accused of racism by Conservatives after the Guido Fawkes website published a recording of her saying about Britain’s first Black finance minister that “superficially he is a black man”.

Asked about Kwarteng at an event at Labour’s annual conference in the northern English city of Liverpool, Huq spoke about his education at elite schools, and added: “If you hear him … you wouldn’t know he is black.”

A spokesperson for Labour leader Keir Starmer told reporters: “We obviously condemn the remarks that she made that were totally inappropriate and we will call on her to apologize and withdraw those comments.”

Huq later posted a tweet offering Kwarteng “my sincere and heartfelt apologies for the comments” which she said were ill-judged.

Kwarteng, appointed finance minister by Prime Minister Liz Truss earlier this month, unveiled his new fiscal programme on Friday, which sent markets into a tailspin and the pound to a record low against the dollar.

Labour has sought to capitalize on the divide opened up by the so-called mini-budget that saw the Conservatives shift to the right with a return to trickle-down economic policies, with Starmer saying Labour was now “the party of the center-ground”.

  • Reuters