Labour MP Rupa Huq suspended from party for calling Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng ‘superficially’ black
MP Rupa Huq has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation, after she was accused of making “racist” comments about Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.
The MP for Ealing Central and Acton, made the remarks about the chancellor at a Labour conference fringe event on Monday entitled “What’s Next for Labour’s Agenda on Race?”
The Conservative Party’s Chairman Jake Berry earlier condemned Ms Huq’s “vile” comments and urged Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, to remove the whip from her.
In audio posted online by the Guido Fawkes website, Ms Huq says: “Superficially he is a black man.
“He went to Eton, I think, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through, the top schools in the country.
“If you hear him on the Today programme, you wouldn’t know he is black.”
In a letter to Sir Keir on Tuesday, Mr Berry said he must take action against Ms Huq.
Expressing his “serious concerns”, he wrote: “During an event organised by the British Future and Black Equity Organisation and attended by shadow secretary of state for women and equalities Anneliese Dodds, Rupa Huq made a number of racist comments about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng.”
He continued: “Sunder Katwala, the event chair, was forced to respond to her appalling comments about the chancellor by saying his Conservative views ‘doesn’t make him not black… and I think the Labour Party has to be really careful’.
“I trust you will join me in unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist and that the Labour whip will be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence.”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 criticised comments were made.
Labour and Ms Huq have been approached for comment.
Asked about Ms Huq’s remarks, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy told the BBC they were “unfortunate” and that she should “stand those comments down”.
Meanwhile former Conservative cabinet minister Sajid Javid said he was “appalled and saddened” by the comments.
“Rather than give encouragement to racists and people who seek to divide us, she should know better. Not too late for her to show that she does,” he posted on social media.
Why has there been speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health?
Speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health has circulated online since Prince William pulled out of his godfather’s memorial due to a “personal matter”.
Kate was admitted to hospital for “planned abdominal surgery” exactly a week after her 42nd birthday in January.
Kensington Palace later confirmed the surgery was successful and she would be taking time to recover at home in Windsor.
But amid concerns for her father-in-law’s health following his cancer diagnosis, and the lack of explanation when William said he would not attend the memorial, speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health has been widespread.
When did she have surgery?
The princess was admitted to the London Clinic, a private hospital in Marylebone, on 16 January.
The following day, Kensington Palace confirmed the procedure was successful, estimating she would remain in hospital for 10 to 14 days.
On 29 January it was announced she was discharged and went home to Windsor.
At the time, Sky News understood that her recuperation would likely take between two and three months.
A palace statement said: “Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.
“The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate. She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.
“Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.”
Conspiracy theories surrounding Kate won’t force William to change his position on privacy
For a woman we haven’t actually seen since Christmas, an awful lot has been written about the Princess of Wales this week.
In fact, you could say the questions and conspiracy theories about Kate and her health have got out of control.
I was told this week that it’s too early to say exactly when we’re going to see her again.
So should we read anything into that? I’m told a firm ‘no’.
William’s ‘personal matter’
Prince William was due to attend a memorial for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, at Windsor Castle on 27 February.
The King did not attend due to his ongoing treatment, but William was expected with other members of the family until an hour beforehand.
The palace issued a statement to say the prince would not attend due to a “personal matter” – but did not elaborate.
Anticipating speculation, it did add that Kate is “recovering and continues to be doing well”.
According to Sky royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills, the prince’s “decision and lack of explanation for it has exposed how high-risk their strategy of keeping quiet is” – and has resulted in a “vacuum of information… rumour and speculation”.
“The voracious appetite for news about the princess hasn’t been helped by the perception that the King is being much more open about his cancer diagnosis,” Mills said.
Royal experts have said comparisons between the King and the Princess of Wales are unfair – as the former is the reigning monarch with far greater responsibilities and public interest.
But it has not stopped conspiracy theorists speculating about alternative scenarios to the one stated by the palace.
When might we see her again?
Kate has not been seen in public since the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.
Kensington Palace said the princess would not be returning to public duties before Easter Sunday, which this year falls on 31 March.
In recent years, William and Kate have attended church services on Easter Sunday in Windsor with their children.
Regardless, all eyes will still be on William, who is due to attend Commonwealth Day celebrations on 11 March.
The original indication of two to three months’ recovery, would mean a return somewhere between 16 March and 16 April.
Separately, Queen Camilla is taking the week off royal duties ahead of Commonwealth Day as she had no planned commitments.
Michael McIntyre cancels gig after undergoing surgery
Comedian Michael McIntyre has cancelled a gig on his world tour due to undergoing a medical procedure.
The 48-year-old’s social media account announced on Sunday the comedian was “unable to perform” his show at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre on Monday.
“Unfortunately, Michael has had an operation to remove kidney stones,” read the post on X.
The show is due to be rescheduled, with those unable to make the new date entitled to a refund, it said.
“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused,” it added.
It comes after McIntyre was unable to perform another show of his Macnificent world tour in Plymouth last week.
The comedian’s social media account said he had missed Thursday’s show at the Plymouth Pavilions due to “illness”.
The post also said: “The show will be rescheduled to a later date to be announced soon. If you are unable to make the new date you will be entitled to a refund. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”
McIntyre is due to perform for three nights at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena from Friday to Sunday.
He has upcoming dates this month in Newcastle and Manchester, before shows across the UK including London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast later this spring.
McIntyre took his tour to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and mainland Europe last year.
Ferrari stolen from Formula One driver Gerhard Berger in 1995 recovered by police nearly three decades later
A Ferrari stolen from former Formula One driver Gerhard Berger nearly three decades ago has been recovered by police.
Police believe the car – a revamped version of Ferrari’s iconic Testarossa – was shipped to Japan soon after it was stolen.
However, the sports car, painted in the classic Ferrari red and said to be worth around £350,000, was brought to the UK in late 2023.
It came to the attention of the Metropolitan Police in January this year, when officers received a report from the Italian car marker.
Ferrari had carried out checks on a car being bought by a US buyer via a UK broker in 2023, which revealed it was a stolen vehicle.
PC Mike Pilbeam, who led the investigation, said: “The stolen Ferrari was missing for more than 28 years before we managed to track it down in just four days.
“Our enquiries were painstaking and included contacting authorities from around the world.
“We worked quickly with partners including the National Crime Agency, as well as Ferrari and international car dealerships, and this collaboration was instrumental in understanding the vehicle’s background and stopping it from leaving the country.”
The second car remains missing.
No arrests have yet been made, but enquiries are ongoing, the force added.
The Ferrari F512M was the last version of the Italian car maker’s iconic Testarossa. Around 500 were produced between 1994 and 1996.
The Testarossa itself was Ferrari’s flagship model throughout much of the 1980s, becoming synonymous with yuppies, and famously featuring in the hit crime drama, Miami Vice.
Berger, who raced for Scuderia Ferrari for much of his Formula One career, was among the famous faces who owned a Testarossa, along with the likes of Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Elton John.
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