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20 under 40: Sam Gyimah

Age: 35
Conservative, East Surrey

Raised by a single mother from Ghana, Sam Gyimah had to overcome local opposition before being selected as the parliamentary candidate for the Tories' sixth-safest seat. Born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, he was educated at schools in both the UK and Ghana. After reading philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University, where he was also elected president of the Oxford Union, he worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.

Aged 26, he left banking to develop a portfolio of small start-up businesses in the training, recruitment and internet sectors. Success led to the CBI's Entrepreneur of the Future award in 2005. He was also chairman of the centre-right Bow Group in 2007. Articulate, intelligent and liberal, Gyimah prompts the question: when will the Conservative Party be ready to elect a black leader?

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This article first appeared in the 19 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Meet the next Prime Minister