Britain' s first black cabinet minister


Report Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Britain’ s first black cabinet minister

Paul Boateng is appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Cabinet reshuffle


Paul Boateng

The 1990 Trust joins other black organisations in welcoming the appointment of Paul Boateng as the first black cabinet minister.

Commenting on the appointment, Karen Chouhan, director of The 1990 Trust said: “This is a watershed in British politics. It is important to be represented at all stata of society. However, we hope he will use this opportunity to clearly represent the important and urgent concerns of the black communities at Cabinet level.”

Tuhan Wishart, from the Race Discrimination Unit, welcoming the appointment said: “Let us hope that this is the first of many such long overdue appointments.”

Educated in Ghana and at Bristol University, Paul Boateng became a solicitor in 1975. He entered Parliament in 1987 and later became Treasury spokesperson.

Following the sudden resignation of Ron Davies as Welsh Secretary in 1998, he was promoted to the Home Office as a junior health minister.

The current appointment is another considerable promotion for Mr Boateng, who since the election has won his spurs at the Treasury where he served in Gordon Brown’s team as financial secretary.

Paul Boateng will take charge at this summer’s comprehensive spending review. His new job will test his mettle as each department pushes for a share of the spending plans for the next three years.

The work of chief secretary to the Treasury is rated as one of the most demanding at Whitehall and will test the new black Cabinet Secretary’s mettle.

The rise of Paul Boateng

Educated in Ghana and at Bristol University
1975: Becomes solicitor
1987: Enters Parliament
1989-92:Labour Treasury spokesman
1992-97: Labour Lord Chancellor’s Department spokesman
1997-98: Junior health minister
1998-99: Home Office Minister
2000-01: Minister for Young People
2001-2002: Financial secretary to the Treasury

Published by the 1990 Trust