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Leyla Keough

Although he was considered a radical in the 1970s and 1980s, observers have described Paul Boateng as a “traditional” moderate since he took his seat in the British Parliament in 1987.

Boateng was born in Hackney, London, in 1951, to a Ghanaian father and a Scottish mother. When he was two, his family moved to the newly independent Ghana, where his father served as a cabinet minister. Boateng grew up in Ghana and attended the prestigious Accra Academy. When a 1966 coup placed his father in jail, he, his sister, and his mother fled to Great Britain. They settled in Hemel Hempstead, where Boateng was the only black to attend his secondary school. His peers quickly accepted him, and he became captain of the debating team. He went on to study law at Bristol University.

At a time when the British Parliament had no members ...