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Case Studies


TV hero wants your vote in election

Britain’s first black Mastermind winner, Shaun Wallace, is to stand as an independent candidate at the May 5 general election.

Wallace will this week announce his candidacy for the Brent South constituency, soon to be vacated by MP Paul Boeteng.

He told The Voice: “We live in a democracy and I think people should have a proper choice.”

Wallace, who completed his law degree at North London Polytechnic, said he shunned the major political parties, particularly Labour, as he could not agree with all their policies.

“There are certain aspects of Labour party policy that I do not agree with,” he explained, “like the decision to go to Iraq and the rising costs of education.”

He revealed that education was to be his main cause to champion.

“Education is going to be my watchword,” he said.


“I will be especially questioning the policies on increasing tuition fees and how they will affect graduates having such a large debt.”

He also expressed his willingness to speak out on other issues affecting the community, including ID cards.

“As a lawyer I am deeply alarmed at the intrusion into our civil liberties and the erosion of the rights of citizens,” he said.

“I do hope that the political parties do not adopt scare tactics during the election.”

Wallace’s Mastermind win last December is his claim to fame, but the 44-year-old-barrister already has a long standing post as a lecturer at Hackney Community College and has also developed a local reputation as a philanthropist, regularly speaking to groups of school children.

Wallace is counting on his local appeal to win over the Brent South voters.

“Of all the candidates up and down the country, I’m one of the few born in the constituency I’m seeking to represent. I’ve seen how Brent has grown over the past 44 years.”

He added: “I will appeal to the electorate as a local person. It’s true I don’t have experience of frontline politics, but which candidate does?”

“If I am elected I hope to represent my electorate independently. I am an independent candidate and I will be an independent voice.”

Wallace won the 2004 Mastermind cup after he secured no passes on his specialist topic: FA Cup finals since 1970.

He beat five other finalists, including a retired chemist, a financial adviser and a factory worker.

When his win was broadcast last December, he told The Voice: “I’m the most popular black man in the country right now but the one thing I will never forget is my black consciousness.”

The Brent South seat is one of the most diverse in the country and has a 64 per cent non white population. African Caribbeans make up around 80 per cent of the minority ethnic population.

Late last month, Labour selected Dawn Butler to stand for the constituency after adopting an all BME shortlist.