Boateng stands down as MP

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Britain's first black Cabinet minister Paul Boateng is to step down as a MP at the general election, it emerged today.

Britain's first black Cabinet minister Paul Boateng is to step down as a MP at the general election, it emerged today.

It was reported that the Treasury Chief Secretary is leaving Parliament to take up the post of High Commissioner to South Africa.

A Labour Party spokesman said a statement on Mr Boateng's future would be issued by Downing Street.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, paid tribute to Mr Boateng's work at the Treasury and said that he would play a key role in the fight against poverty in Africa in his new post as High Commissioner in Pretoria.

"He has displayed huge dedication to the cause of African development for many years and it is fitting that, in this year of challenge and opportunity for the African continent, Paul has been given such a pivotal role in our fight against poverty and injustice," he said.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Paul on this vital agenda."

Mr Boateng said that he had welcomed the chance to be part of Labour's economic team.

"It has been a personal honour to play a part in ensuring that our economy remains strong and that our programme of investment in and reform of public services delivers real and lasting improvement for all," he said.

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