Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Right Honourable Paul Yaw Boateng (born June 14, 1951), is a British Labour Party politician and the UK's first black Cabinet minister. Until 2005, he was MP for Brent South and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Boateng was born in Hackney, London of mixed Ghanaian and Scottish heritage, but lived in Ghana, where his father became a cabinet minister under Kwame Nkrumah, until the 1966 coup that ousted Nkrumah. The family moved to Hemel Hempstead where he attended Apsley Grammar School. After graduating from the University of Bristol he became a lawyer (originally a solicitor, though he later retrained as a barrister) specialising in civil rights cases. He was elected to the Greater London Council in 1981 as a member of Labour's left wing and a supporter of Ken Livingstone. As chair of the GLC's police committee, he was an outspoken critic of police relations with ethnic minorities. He stood as a candidate for Hemel Hempstead in the 1983 election, but was defeated.
In the 1987 general election he was elected to the House of Commons for Brent South, famously declaring "Today Brent South, tomorrow Soweto!". Like many other members of the 1980s left he became more moderate under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, who made him a junior spokesman in 1989. In 1992 he became shadow minister for the Lord Chancellor's department, a post he held until the 1997 general election.
With Labour's victory, Boateng became the UK's first black government minister, as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health (UK). In 1998 he became a minister at the Home Office. Now a loyal supporter of the New Labour project, he defended the police and criticised his former GLC colleague Ken Livingstone's mayoral campaign.
In March 2005 he announced that he would not stand for re-election as an MP in the May 2005 general election; if Labour wins the election, he will become High Commissioner to South Africa afterwards, replacing Ann Grant . Dawn Butler has been selected by the local Constituency Labour Party to replace him.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details