He succeeded the previously elected David Howarth, who stood down after one term. After one term in office he failed in his bid to be reelected, and was replaced by Daniel Zeichner of the Labour Party.
Early life and academia
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The son of two academics (Australian-born geophysicist Herbert Huppert and psychologist Felicia Huppert), Huppert has lived in Cambridge since he was a small child. Having attended The Perse School in the city, Huppert went on to study at Cambridge University, completing a BA (2000) and then a PhD (2005) in Biological Chemistry at Trinity College. He was elected a Junior Research Fellow of Trinity in 2004, and became a fellow of Clare College in 2009 (the College at which the previous Liberal Democrat MP for the city, David Howarth, was a member). He is also a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and the Institute of Physics (MInstP). He worked as a research scientist studying the structures of DNA as well as tutoring students.
During his eight years serving as a County Councillor on Cambridgeshire County Council for Cambridge's East Chesterton area, Huppert helped open Brown's Field Community Centre, chaired the Cambridge Traffic Management Committee and served on the Regional Assembly. His interests in internationalism, the UN and human rights have led him to his position on the National Council of Liberty, formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties, from which he has since stood down.
Huppert has stated that he wanted to get involved in politics because he believes in "a free, fair and open society, where nobody should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity." In an interview with the BBC's 'Today programme' shortly after his election as an MP', Huppert stated, regarding negotiations with the Conservative party on possible deals to form a coalition, that whilst he found it "very hard to see how a deal could leave out electoral reform [...] if we got all the rest of our manifesto I'd probably live with that".
Huppert's attendance at votes in the House of Commons over the 2010-15 Parliament was 77%.
Julian Huppert was amongst the Lib Dem rebels opposing capping benefit increases.
Huppert voted for the second but against the third reading of the Health and Social Care Bill. He backed an unsuccessful Liberal Democrat amendment which called for the details of healthcare reform to be decided by a summit of healthcare professionals but voted against an amendment calling for the bill to be dropped in favour of cross party talks on NHS reform.
He voted with his party to support a Labour amendment aiming to restrict the "bedroom tax" to apply only tenants that had refused reasonable offers of alternative accommodation, but had supported the introduction of the housing benefit penalty in previous votes. Subsequently, Julian Huppert voted against a Labour amendment calling for the bedroom tax to be scrapped.
Huppert proposed a bill to prevent the demolition or change of use pubs or independent shops without planning permission under the Ten Minute Rule in 2012 but the proposals failed to make any further progress.
In 2015 Huppert proposed an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill to protect journalistic sources from police investigation
Huppert is involved in a number of All-party parliamentary groups, being joint chair of the Cycling Group, and a vice chair of the Humanist Group, the Refugees group, and the Local Government group. He has campaigned in Parliament on many issues, including scrapping Britain's nuclear weapons. He also sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Huppert, who has expressed disappointment at scientific understanding amongst MPs, has been described by Cambridge Liberal Democrats and others as "the only scientist" in the House of Commons. However, back in November 2012, Julian Huppert acknowledged other scientists in the house saying "Although it has been said that I am the only scientist in the House, that is sadly not true. I am one of two Members with a science PhD and I went on to do research, but there are other scientists in the House and it always a great pleasure to have them here."
When the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader stepped down to take a ministerial post, Huppert was talked about as a possible contender for the post.
Huppert is a cycling safety campaigner and organised and spoke at a parliamentary debate on the subject, as well as passing a motion at the 2013 Liberal Democrat Conference on the subject. His support of the principle of "Proportionate liability" has led to debate in his Cambridge Constituency and nationally with the Daily Mail incorrectly stating that the principle would result in motorists being to blame even if the cyclist(s) are breaking the law. Huppert was named one of the most influential people in UK cycling by magazine Bikebiz. and was awarded road safety organisation Brake's Road Safety award in March 2013 for his campaign on 20 mph speed limits
Huppert was called the most impressive new Liberal Democrat MP elected in the 2010 election by a party website. Huppert's performance has also been highlighted in a number of publications and he was named as the top backbencher in the Telegraph's recent list of "Most influential Lib Dems".
Huppert was awarded the "Internet Hero of the year award" by the Internet Service Providers Association for his involvement in the campaign against the Communications Data Bill, also known as the "Snooper's Charter".
Huppert criticised the decision of the competition commission to force Cineworld to sell the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. He has taken up the issue in Parliament, claiming the competition commissions should be looking into other monopolies in Cambridge: "To be frank, I start to wonder what the value of the Competition Commission is. In Cambridge we have two big problems with monopoly – Stagecoach’s control of the buses, and Tesco’s control of the supermarkets." and has gained the support of the leader of the house, Andrew Lansley.
In November he launched a campaign to persuade the County Council to invest more in Cambridge's pavements, highlighting the effect even minor damage has on disabled people. The campaign has a website with a reporting tool, but has received criticism for being the MP interfering in issues County Councillors should be taking up.
- London Gazette (2010-05-13): List of members returned to serve in Parliament at the general election 2010
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- Julian Huppert MP official constituency website
- Profile at the Liberal Democrats
- Cambridge Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
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