Rt Hon Paul Boateng

Portrait photograph of Paul Boateng

© John Ferguson

Born in London of Ghanaian and Scottish heritage, Boateng grew up in Ghana and Hertfordshire. After graduating from Bristol University, he became a civil rights lawyer.

In 1987 he was the first person of African descent to become an MP. From 1997 he held various government positions, and in May 2002 became the UK's first Black Cabinet minister when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

He was the British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2005 until April 2009.