Labour backbencher Rupa Huq stole the thunder from her leader's big conference speech thanks to a leaked recording of her referring to the Chancellor as 'superficially black'. Her comments came at a fringe gathering at Labour's party conference on Monday. The party's chairwoman Anneliese Dodds was reportedly sat next to Huq as she made the remarks, which were leaked by the Guido Fawkes blog.
Huq also said of Kwasi Kwarteng: "If you hear him on the Today programme, you wouldn’t know he’s black". This is an ironic statement coming from a woman born to Bengali migrants, but who speaks with a plum English accent herself.
The recording can be heard below.
Starmer moved quickly to quell the scandal, withdrawing the party whip from Huq pending an investigation. He also flat out called her comments 'racist' and urged her to apologise, which she duly obliged.
The incident led to the intriguing situation of Dave Lammy being questioned by a Sky News reporter and in response reluctant to talk about racism - possibly for the first time in history (see video clip, below).
Staunch Remainer Huq has been the MP for Ealing Central and Acton since 2015 and is the sister of another virulent Remainer - ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq. The latter's anti-Brexit rant of 2019, when she bizarrely likened the Leave mandate to beheading, was a sight to behold.
Rupa has form when it comes to race. In 2016 she defended her comrade Naz Shah after the Bradford MP was suspended for alleged anti-Semitism. She was later herself the subject of complaints of anti-Semitism from two former staff members and she resigned from the Labour-affiliate Labour Friends of Israel. Last year she also wrote an article for the Guardian, in which she referred to the levers of power as 'hideously white'.
Although seen as a Labour moderate, Huq's comments about the Chancellor bear closer resemblance to the language of the far left. Such views about black and other minority ethnic conservatives are perhaps most famously typified by Joe Biden's assertion that if black people don't vote for him they are 'not black'. The left think they own the black vote, and black people by proxy. There's some irony there, too.