British born Nigerian: Chuka Umunna gets into British Parliament

Chuka UmunnaChuka Umunna of Nigerian descent has become the first Nigerian to get into British Parliament. Labour’s Chuka Umunna, said he was “humbled” by winning a close fought contest to take the Streatham seat. Mr Umunna, standing for the first time, took the seat with a 3259-vote majority.

Five Nigerians are among the hundreds of contestants that vied for seats in the British parliament as the country went to polls on Thursday.

Umunna hauled a massive 20,037 votes, beating his nearest rival, Lib Dem candidate Chris Nicholson, who received 16,778 votes.

He called the victory “a quite extraordinary night”.

He said: “I was born and bred in this constituency and the fact so many of my neighbours, close friends and people I know in the community and that I am tasked to represent them is something that makes me deeply humbled.

“I know our party will do everything we can for the residents of this fantastic place.”

Mr Umunna has ensured the seat remains in Labour hands after Keith Hill MP stepped down this election after 18 years in the job.

Among those that vied for a seat in Parliament is Abiodun Akinoshun, who stood as an independent candidate in Erith and Thamesmead constituency.

Also standing are Helen Grant, Conservative Party candidate for Maidstone and the Weald; Kemi Adegoke, Conservative Party candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood and Chi Onwurah, Labour Candidate for Newcastle Central. 

Congratulations to Chi Onwurah [Lab], Helen Grant[Con] and Chuka Ummunah[Lab] for doing Nigerians proud by getting into Parliament. Even bigger congratulations to Kemi Adegoke [Con] for fighting a good fight. 


In March 2008 Chuka Umunna was selected by the Streatham Labour Party as its parliamentary candidate at the next General Election. He succeeds Keith Hill, the current Labour Member of Parliament who has held the seat since April 1992  and is to retire.

Chuka will be the first MP for Streatham to be from and who grew up in the area, a parliamentary consituency which covers Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton.  He has lived in the Streatham parliamentary constituency all his life (save for a short stint away studying). In his formative years Chuka attended Christ Church Primary School in the Brixton Hill part of the constituency and he is presently a School Governor of Sunnyhill Primary School and sits on the Board of Sunnyhill Children’s Centre, both in Streatham Wells.  He lives on Streatham High Road.

Chuka is a specialist employment law solicitor by profession and works at a Central London law firm where he primarily acts for employees but also employers. In addition, he sits on the Board of Generation Next, a not for profit social enterprise which provides activities for young people in London, and has been involved charitable youth work in Lambeth too.

Prior to becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Streatham, Chuka was Vice Chair of Streatham Labour Party from 2004 to 2008 and had held a variety of positions throughout the local party.  He is a member of the GMB and Unite trade unions and sits on the Management Committee of progressive pressure group, Compass.

As a person of mixed Nigerian, Irish and English descent, Chuka would become the first person of Black parentage to represent one of the three parliamentary constituencies covering the Brixton area. Aged 30, Chuka also become one of the youngest MPs in the country.

Commenting in March 2008 on his selection as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Streatham, Chuka (pictured left with Keith Hill MP and Minister for London, Tessa Jowell MP) said:
“Streatham is my home – I grew up here – so it is a great privilege to have been selected as Labour’s next Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in this constituency.
“Labour has achieved a lot and this country is a far better place to live than it was in 1997 with unemployment in Streatham down from 10.2% then, to 5.2% now, but we still have lots of work to do.
“I am very grateful to Labour Party members for selecting me to succeed Keith Hill, who has been a fantastic MP for Streatham, and I relish the prospect of getting out and about and taking our message to the community with him between now and the next general election.”

Local residents welcomed Chuka’s selection as Labour’s parliamentary candidate. The Rev. Lisa Wright, retired curate at St Leonard’s Church, Streatham, said:

“Myself and Chuka’s family were members of St Margaret’s Church in Streatham for many years. I think he would make a wonderful MP for the area and the fact that he is a local boy will definitely appeal to the people here. He is part of the new generation in this new political era!”

Richard Guy, a local firefighter from Streatham said:
“Chuka is a childhood friend – we both grew up in Streatham together. I remember how proud he was of me when I became a firefighter – his admiration for those (like me) working in our public services to keep this country functioning is unswerving