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The Rt Hon Lord Boateng PC DL is a civil liberties and employment lawyer. He qualified as a solicitor in 1974 and was called to the Bar in 1989. He was an executive member of the National Council for Civil Liberties and, between 1977 and 1981, was legal advisor to the Scrap Sus campaign. One of his most notable cases is that of Cherry Groce, a mother of six who was shot and paralysed by the police during the course of a raid of her home in search of her son: the shooting sparked the 1985 Brixton riot.
He was elected to the Greater London Council for Walthamstow in 1981. As chair of the GLC’s police committee and vice-chair of its ethnic minorities committee, he advocated greater accountability in the Metropolitan Police and spoke out against racism in relation to their dealings with the black and Asian communities.
He thereafter served as MP for Brent between 1987 and 2005, becoming the first British MP of African descent. He served within the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury between 2002 and 2005, before being appointed British High Commissioner to South Africa. In 2000, he became the first Minister for Young People, in which capacity he launched the Youth, Citizenship and Social Change programme – then the UK’s largest research project designed to examine social exclusion and promoting citizenship among young people – and played a leading role in coordinating the Every Child Matters policy paper, which called for the reform of children’s services, including greater accountability and coordination among government agencies.
He currently chairs the English Speaking Union and the Nairobi-based Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. He is also on the Board of the Ghana International Bank in the City of London, of which he is a Freeman.