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Oona King

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Constituency Created


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Murreil Hazel

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Oona King

Oona King Oona King39s joy and fear at birth of first biological

Full Name
Oona Tamsyn King

22 October 1967 (age 56) Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, UK (

Alma mater
University of YorkUniversity of California, Berkeley

Tiberio Santomarco (m. 1994)

Ed Stoppard, Bill Stoppard

Elia King, Ariel King, Kaia King


Heart to heart with oona king

Oona Tamsyn King, Baroness King of Bow (born 22 October 1967) is a Labour politician and former Chief diversity officer of Channel 4.


Oona King Oona King 39Have I ever regretted being so candid Oh

She had previously served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow from 1997 until 2005, when she was defeated by George Galloway, the Respect Party candidate.

Oona King Oona King in bid to be London39s mayor in 2012 Politics

Dancing on ice 2013 r2 oona king save me skate

Early life

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King, was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Preston King, an African-American academic and his wife, Murreil Hazel (née Stern), a Jewish social justice activist. She is the niece of the medical doctor Miriam Stoppard (her maternal aunt), while her cousin is the actor Ed Stoppard. On her father's side, she comes from a line of civil rights activists and successful entrepreneurs. Her paternal grandfather, the civil rights activist, Clennon Washington King, Sr. had seven sons. C.B. King, a pioneering civil rights attorney, is her uncle.

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King was educated at Haverstock Comprehensive Secondary School on Crogsland Road in Chalk Farm (borough of Camden), London, and was a contemporary of fellow Labour politicians David Miliband and his younger brother Ed. It was at Haverstock that she first showed an interest in politics, telling her careers teacher she wanted to become Prime Minister. Librarian work was suggested instead. At the beginning of her period as an undergraduate at University of York she was briefly a member of the Socialist Workers Party During her second year (1988–89) she gained a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a first class honours Politics degree in 1990.

Political career

Oona King Oona King Wikipedia

Before becoming a member of parliament, King was a researcher for the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, and worked as a political assistant to Glyn Ford MEP, the Labour Party Leader in the European Parliament, and later Glenys Kinnock MEP. In 1995–97, she was a political organiser for the GMB Southern Region.

Oona King Oona King The Bridget Jones of the Commons Daily Mail Online

She was selected to represent the seat of Bethnal Green and Bow early in 1997. Peter Shore had announced his retirement early, but faction fighting in the Constituency Labour Party led to party headquarters delaying the selection and imposing its own shortlist; some leading competitors from the local Bangladeshi community were not included.

Parliamentary career

Oona King New BME Peers Baroness Oona King OBV

Winning the seat in 1997, King became only the second black woman to be elected as a member of parliament, the first being Diane Abbott. In her "truly first-class maiden speech", King described the racial abuse she and her family had suffered as a child. She referred to herself as "multi-ethnic", representing "a truly multicultural constituency where hardship and deprivation gave birth to Britain's greatest social reforms." She described William Beveridge and Clement Attlee, as "surrounded by an East End infant mortality rate of 55%" and said this led to social reforms including the NHS. She emphasised a need for coherence in the strategy for eradicating poverty and the role of education in its elimination.

Oona King Oona King Bio Facts Family Famous Birthdays

King was also a passionate advocate of international aid and human rights. She served on the international development select committee, and she served as the Vice-Chair of the All-Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh. She was selected to second the Queen's Speech debate in November 2002, where she also discussed her views on genocide and a visit to Rwanda. She served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Minister for e-commerce. In 2003 she was selected as one of "100 Great Black Britons".

Oona King Oona King My surrogate baby joy Daily Mail Online

King supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was controversial for her constituency's large Muslim population. Her support for the controversial invasion was used against her in the electoral campaign of Respect's George Galloway who later defeated her at the 2005 general election. The campaign for the seat contained strong comments from both candidates.

She subsequently changed her views, after viewing the poor handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath by the United States:

it shows that America has no grasp whatever on the activity needed to rebuild a destroyed city. And if they can't do that in their own country, then it's obvious why they can't do it in Iraq. So ... I regret that we went to war with a country that has shown itself to be incapable of the very basic actions required to deal with post-conflict reconstruction.

She however maintained that she does not regret voting for the war in Iraq, "I could never have voted against getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He was responsible for the deaths of one million people."

2005 general election

Bethnal Green and Bow with a population of approximately 45,000 Muslim residents, was George Galloway's best chance to defeat a Labour candidate in what became a "bitter single issue campaign." King described the contest as "one of the dirtiest ..we have ever seen in British politics" and complained of "quite disturbing" anti-semitic and racial abuse. She was the putative target of vegetable and egg throwers during a memorial service commemorating the Second World War bombing of a block of flats with predominantly Jewish victims. King claimed it was a deliberate part of Respect's campaign, but Galloway's representative Ron McKay denied any accusation of racial abuse.

Both candidates were given police protection, King after her car tyres were slashed and Galloway after receiving a death threat. King lost the seat by 823 votes, a 26.2% swing from King to Galloway. King said that whilst the war had been a major issue, false claims in the Bangladeshi press that she wanted to get rid of halal meat had played a part in her downfall.


King had said that she would remain in Bethnal Green and Bow with her constituency office funded from the GMB trade union, attempting to act as an unofficial MP. However, later in 2005, she began a career in the media, saying "I wanted to be an MP all my life, and when it didn't work, I thought, well then, I'll just have to go down a different path."

In 2007, King published her autobiography The Oona King Diaries: House Music. In 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed her to act as his Senior Policy Adviser on Equalities and Diversity and Faith.

In January 2009, King was appointed head of diversity at Channel 4. She continues to live in Mile End, in a converted pub.

2010 London mayoral campaign

In 2010, King unsuccessfully challenged Ken Livingstone for the Labour Party nomination in the 2012 election for Mayor of London. King's first campaign speech, at Haverstock school, focused on "engagement with young people" as a way of reducing knife crime and helping them achieve their potential. In June 2010, she was shortlisted and in an interview with The Independent emphasised both her experience of "pushing and pulling the levers of power" i.e. her experience of negotiating with top ministers and also her willingness to work with political opponents. Her opponent, Ken Livingstone, accused her of using inappropriate methods of obtaining email addresses of Labour Party supporters; King denied the allegation. King had the backing of Neil Kinnock, Ben Bradshaw, and Alan Johnson. On 24 September 2010, Livingstone won the nomination.


On 26 January 2011, King was created a life peer as Baroness King of Bow, of Bow in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. She was introduced in the House of Lords on 31 January 2011, where she sits on the Labour benches. When her appointment was announced in November 2010, she resigned as a constituency representative to the Labour National Executive Committee, to which she had recently been elected, before attending her first meeting. Upon taking her seat in the Lords, she stood down from her Diversity Officer role with Channel 4.

In 2012, she was elected to the Progress strategy board as a parliamentarian. In 2016, King took a leave of absence from the Lords to take a role as YouTube Diversity Director.

Media work

King has made appearances on television shows such as This Week, The Daily Politics, The All Star Talent Show and Have I Got News for You. She hosted a BBC Two documentary on Martin Luther King and the deep South entitled American Prophet, aired on 29 March 2008. She made appearances on the new comedic show Jews at Ten on Channel 4, 9 October 2012. In January 2013, she appeared on the skating show Dancing On Ice, being voted off 20 January.

Personal life

In 1994, King married Italian Tiberio Santomarco, while working for an MEP in Brussels. The couple have three adopted children, as well as a fourth child born to a surrogate mother in 2013. She is a fluent speaker of Italian and French.


Oona King Wikipedia

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