Chuka Umunna


Related peoples:Tristram Hunt - Matthew Norman - John Prescott

Chuka Umunna Wikipedia

Chuka Umunna

Chuka at Lambeth College-2.JPG
Umunna in 2009
Shadow Secretary of State for

Business, Innovation and Skills
Assumed office

7 October 2011
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byJohn Denham
Member of Parliament

for Streatham
Assumed office

6 May 2010
Preceded byKeith Hill
Majority3,259 (7.0%)
Personal details
Born(1978-10-17) 17 October 1978 (age 35)

London, United Kingdom
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Manchester

University of Burgundy

Nottingham Law School
WebsiteOfficial website
Chuka Harrison Umunna (born 17 October 1978) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Streatham since 2010 and the Shadow Business Secretary since 2011.


    Early life

    Umunna, born in London in 1978, is mixed race. His father Bennett, who was a Nigerian of the Igbo ethnic group, died in a road accident in Nigeria in 1992. His Irish mother, Patricia, is a solicitor and the daughter of High Court Judge Sir Helenus Milmo.


    Umunna was educated at Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, South London, and the Christ Church Primary School in Brixton Hill. His parents felt that the local state school had "given up on him" and so moved him to the boys' independent senior school St Dunstan's College, in Catford in south-east London, where he played the cello, and became Deputy Head Boy. During this period he was also a chorister at Southwark Cathedral. He says that he "wouldn't rule out" sending his own (future) children to a private school if they were doing badly at a State school. He was awarded an upper second class LLB in English and French Law from the University of Manchester; after graduating he studied for one term at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, before studying for an MA at Nottingham Law School. He has said that his politics and moral values come from Christianity, but that he is "not majorly religious".

    Legal career

    Having completed his studies in 2002, he began work as a solicitor at Herbert Smith in the City of London. In 2006 he joined Rochman Landau, specialising in employment law. From 2006 onwards, Umunna began to write and provide commentary on the Labour Party, as well as broader social and economic issues, usually in his capacity as a member of the Management Committee of the Labour-aligned Compass pressure group. He also wrote articles for the Financial Times, Tribune, The Voice, The Guardian and the New Statesman, and began to appear on various radio and television programmes as a commentator. He founded and edited the online political magazine, The Multicultural Politic. In 2007, he worked for John Cruddas' unsuccessful campaign to become Labour Deputy Leader.

    Political career

    Member of Parliament

    In March 2008, Umunna was adopted as the Labour Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Streatham. At the 2010 general election, he was elected Member of Parliament for Streatham with a 3,259 majority; he gave his maiden speech on 2 June 2010. He took a particular interest in economic policy and reform of the City, and he was subsequently elected to serve on the Treasury Select Committee.

    Umunna has argued that the coalition government should revise its programme of fiscal consolidation, take a tougher stance with the British banking industry and take action to transform the credit ratings agency market. Umunna was one of 73 Labour MPs to nominate Ed Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election to find a successor to Gordon Brown. Following Miliband's election, Umunna was appointed to serve as his Parliamentary Private Secretary until he was promoted to be Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise. In January 2011, Umunna questioned the Chief Executive of Barclays, Bob Diamond, in relation to alleged tax avoidance activities by the bank during which he disclosed that the bank used over 300 subsidiary companies in offshore jurisdictions. In response to a question from Umunna, Diamond admitted in February 2011 that Barclays had paid £113m in UK corporation tax in 2009, despite making £11.6bn in profit.

    Umunna has described himself as being "One Nation Labour" and has written articles promoting the Blue Labour trend.

    Shadow Cabinet

    Umunna was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Business Secretary on 7 October 2011, replacing John Denham, who announced his retirement from front-bench politics. Following his appointment, Umunna re-affirmed Labour's commitment to introducing a graduate tax in place of university tuition fees if it wins the election due in May 2015. In January 2012, Umunna joined Ed Miliband and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves in calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to block a £1.6m bonus for Stephen Hester, the Chief Executive Officer of the publicly owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group. During 2013, Umunna led claims that the Government's valuation of the Royal Mail during its privatisation had effectively "shortchanged" the taxpayer, a view supported by the significant rise in the share price following the sale and the subsequent summoning of bankers to a parliamentary investigation.

    In early May 2014, Umunna led concerns in parliament and public over the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca, by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, on the grounds of ensuring British jobs and interests. Despite assurances from Pfizer, Umunna went on to publicly denounce the proposed takeover proclaiming that Pfizer's assurances were "not worth the paper they were written on". The takeover bid eventually fell through in late May 2014 after the Astra Zeneca board rejected Pfizer's final offer.

    In May 2014, Umunna criticized the Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham's report into possible methods of restricting the sale and advertising of alcohol, unhealthy foods, and tobacco. He was quoted as having said that such courses of action as outlined in the report would be seen to be "anti-business and interventionist".


    Unbalanced scales.svg
    This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. Please integrate the section's contents into the article as a whole, or rewrite the material. (June 2014)
    In April 2013, The Sun stated that in 2007 Umunna, using the Wikipedia Username Socialdemocrat, created and repeatedly edited his own Wikipedia page. The newspaper highlighted edits such as those describing Umunna as the British Barack Obama and 'gifted'. Umunna told the Daily Telegraph that he did not alter his own Wikipedia page, but the paper quoted what they called "sources close to Umunna" as having told the newspaper that "it was possible that one of his campaign team in 2007, when he was trying to be selected to be Labour's candidate for Streatham in the 2010 general election, set up the page." On 11 April 2013, the Evening Standard stated that an edit in January 2008 to Umunna's Wikipedia page was made from a computer at the law firm at which he then worked. Umunna said that he had "no recollection" of making the edits.

    Umunna was accused of hypocrisy when it emerged that he had accepted a £20,000 gift from a gambling executive, even though he has been campaigning against the spread of betting shops in his constituency and had promised new powers to limit them.

    Umunna was also accused of hypocrisy by Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris for comments Umunna made in 2006 denoting a "lack of respect for the public" about people who went into the West-End for a night out. Umunna wrote: ‘Most of the West End haunts seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes, while other places that should know better opt for the cheesy vibe,’ Chris Heaton-Harris retorted that this was despite Umunna being a ‘champagne socialist who revels in living the high life'.

    Source: Wikipedia ( )
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