About 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. She previously had served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow from 1997 until 2005, when she was defeated by Respect candidate George Galloway. She was the second black female MP elected to the House of Commons, after Diane Abbott
King, who is mixed race, was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, to Preston King, an African-American academic and his wife, Murreil Hazel (nee Stern), a white Jewish social justice activist. She is the niece of the medical doctor Miriam Stoppard (her mother’s sister) and her playwright husband Tom Stoppard. 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. fathered seven sons.
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 political ambition, telling her careers teacher she wanted to become Prime Minister. Librarian work was suggested instead. She received a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from the University of York in 1990, and a scholarship to University of California, Berkeley.
Before becoming an MP, King was on 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. From 1995–97, she was a political organiser for the GMB Southern Region.
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.
King is married to Italian Tiberio Santomarco whom she married in 1994, while working for an MEP in Brussels. The couple have three adopted children. She is fluent in Italian and French.
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 documentary on Martin Luther King and the deep South entitled “American Prophet”
In January 2013 she appeared on the skating show, Dancing On Ice, being voted off 20 January.