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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 13:09 GMT
Blue Peter links of aspiring MP
Rupa Huq
Ms Huq says politics needs more "normal people"
A lecturer, DJ, and sister of a Blue Peter presenter could take on George Galloway's party in the east London seat he won from Labour last year.

Rupa Huq, 34, says it is "high time" there was an Asian woman MP and Bethnal Green and Bow would respond well to a Bengali Labour candidate.

Despite her celebrity connection, she insists she is just a normal person with her feet "firmly on the ground".

The Labour party has not yet drawn up its official candidate shortlist.

It says it has several interesting candidates for the constituency - which had been considered a Labour safe seat until Mr Galloway's Respect party took it at last year's general election.

Muslim constituency

Mr Galloway, who fought on an anti-Iraq war manifesto after being expelled from the Labour Party, narrowly beat Oona King in last May's poll.

But the left-wing MP, who has celebrity connections of his own after his controversial appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, has said he will stand down at the next election.

Ms Huq, a Muslim who stood as a Labour candidate for Chesham and Amersham last year, says she would "consider very carefully" running for Labour in Bethnal Green, should the opportunity arise.

The university lecturer, mother-of-one and part-time DJ, said while doing interviews on Bengali language television, callers would ask why she was not standing in Bethnal Green - the second largest Muslim seat in England.

There has never been an Asian woman MP. In the 21st Century I find that shocking
Rupa Huq

"Demographically, I think the area would respond well to being represented by a Bangladeshi," she said.

"Parliament is sadly lacking an Asian woman - there has never been an Asian woman MP. In the 21st Century I find that shocking."

A senior lecturer at Kingston University, specialising in sociology and youth culture, she has written a book on the links between culture, ethnicity and pop music, for which she interviewed Oasis star Noel Gallagher.

And the Blue Peter connection could prove useful in gaining media attention - her sister recently interviewed the prime minister for the programme, learning that he cooks up a decent spaghetti Bolognese.

"Admittedly my younger sister is no Jeremy Paxman but she does have form in interviewing Labour leaders," said Ms Huq.

"One of her earliest television appearances was as a 14-year-old grilling Neil Kinnock over his proposals to ban CFC aerosol sprays as part of a Newsround delegation.

"I was the consenting adult under BBC regulations required to accompany her."

But despite her links with fame, Ms Huq insists she is "just a normal person" with her feet on the ground.

"I think politics needs to reflect ordinary people ...who have done actual jobs, not just professional politicians," she said.


SEE ALSO
Shock win for Galloway in London
06 May 05 |  England
Muslim vote shifts against Labour
06 May 05 |  Election 2005



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