40 Nigerians Under 40: Chuka Harrison Umunna [34]

chuka harrisonA British Labour Party Politician who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) for Streatham since 2010, as well as the Shadow Business Secretary since 2011.

Umunna was born in the UK in 1978. 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, at the voluntary aided Christ Church Primary school in Brixton Hill, and at the independent secondary school St Dunstan’s College in Catford. During this period he was also a chorister at Southwark Cathedral. He has said that the Christian faith has influenced his political views. He holds a LLB in English and French Law from the University of Manchester, after graduating he studied for one term at University of Burgundy in Dijon, before studying for an MA at Nottingham law school.

Having completed his studies in 2002, he began as a solicitor at Herbert Smith in the City of London. In 2006, he joined Rochman Landau working in employment law.

From 2006 onwards, Umunna began to write and provide commentary on the Labour Party, social, and economic issues, usually as a member of the Management committee of the Labour aligned Compass pressure group. He has also written for Financial Times, Tribune, The Voice, The Guardian and the New Statesman, and broadcast on radio and television. He founded and edited an online political magazine, The Multicultural Politic. In 2007, he worked for John Cruddas’ unsuccessful campaign to become Labour Deputy Leader.

In March 2008, Umunna was adopted as the Labour’s Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Streatham. At the 2010 general election, he was elected Member of Parliament for Streatham with a 3,259 majority.

Umunna has argued that the coalition government should revise its programme of fiscal consolidation, take a tougher stance with British banking industry and take action to transform the credit ratings agency market. Umunna was one of the 73 MPs to nominate Ed Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election to find a successor to Gordon Brown. Following Miliband election, Umunna was appointed to serve as his Parliamentary Private Secretary until he was promoted to be Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise.

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