Tories bet on Patti Boulaye for black vote

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PATTI BOULAYE, the actress and singer, is to stand as a Conservative candidate in the Greater London Assembly elections next May.

Ms Boulaye will announce today her candidacy for the new 25-seat authority.

She first found fame on TV's New Faces talent programme in the 1970s, and was a star of West End musicals such as Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Carmen Jones,

Her selection by the Tories is seen as a calculated attempt to win crucial black votes in the contest.

Nearly a quarter of Londoners are from ethnic minorities and all three main political parties are keen to be seen to as representative of the capital's cosmopolitan make-up.

Ms Boulaye said: "I am very much looking forward to standing and I believe deeply that I have a mission to not only serve the interests of all people, but also to bring as many of the black and ethnic minority community to Conservative views."

Richard Ottaway, Shadow Minister for London, said that he was "delighted" that Ms Boulaye had decided to stand.

"I believe she can make an important contribution to London's political life, particularly as a voice for the ethnic community," he said.

"Futhermore, London is a centre for the arts and Patti's professional career as a performer means that she has a great deal to contribute in one of London's most important roles. This can only be good news for Londoners and makes her an ideal candidate."