Chuka Umunna MP

Primary tabs

Chuka Umunna made history when he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Streatham in May 2010 as he was the first MP for the constituency to have been born and bred there and the first person of full or mixed-African Caribbean parentage to represent one of three Parliamentary constituencies covering the Brixton area.

Chuka was selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the seat in March 2008 by the Streatham Labour Party after Keith Hill MP, who first won the seat for Labour in 1992, announced his retirement. Chuka retained his seat in the 2015 General Election. In May 2015 he announced that he would be entering the race to lead the Labour Party following the resignation of the former Labour leader, Ed Miliband. However, he withdrew days later due to the uncomfortable "level of pressure" following his announcement to stand as leader.

Since becoming an MP, Chuka had rapidly rose through the ranks - within a month of becoming an MP, he was elected by his colleagues to serve on the prestigious Treasury Select Committee and in October 2010, following Ed Miliband’s election as Leader of the Labour Party, Chuka was appointed as his Parliamentary Private Secretary. In May 2011, Ed Miliband then appointed him as Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise in Labour’s Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills team. In this role, Chuka led on small business issues, business support and access to finance, corporate governance, deregulation and economic growth.

In October 2011, after just 18 months in Parliament, Chuka was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Business Secretary - of  the biggest jobs on the Opposition front bench -leading its team on a wide range of issues, including business, enterprise, science and universities.

Chuka was born in October 1978. His father, Bennett Umunna, who died in a road accident in Nigeria when Chuka was 13 was an entrepreneur who arrived penniless in Liverpool from Nigeria in the 1960s before going on to establish his own import-export business. His English-Irish mother was a probation officer (now a solicitor) and the daughter of Sir Helenus Milmo, a High Court judge and a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Nazi trials.

Chuka was educated at Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, South London, and the Christ Church Primary School in Brixton Hill before attending the boys’ independent senior school, St Dunstan’s College, in Catford, south-east London. He was chorister at Southwark Catherdral. 

He graduated in English and French Law from the University of Manchester and then studied for one term at the University of Burgundy in Dijon before doing his Legal Practice Course at the Nottingham Law School in 2001. He joined the Labour Party in 1997, while at university. 

Chuka trained at the international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (then Herbert Smith) and qualified as a solicitor in 2004. As an employment lawyer he moved to Rochman Landau in London in 2006, where he stayed until he was elected to Parliament.  

See Also: 
The Legislature and the Executive section.