The Foreign Office has declined to discuss even the date of the return of Mr Boateng or confirm whether Ms Brewer would take over.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We do not discuss diplomatic appointments." High Commissioners would usually expect to remain in their positions between four and six years.

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A former head of personnel policy she rose the ranks to become responsible for European policy.

The mother of two, who is the daughter of a Welsh rugby international, is married to a diplomat.

The Cape Town posting may seem calm by comparison to the commission, regarded by its critics as the state enforcer of political correctness, as Ms Brewer was one of three executives to quit in the same week last month.

Nicola Brewer, 51, quit as chief executive of the commission for an undisclosed new job after infuriating equality campaigners by suggesting companies should not be required to conduct equal pay reviews during the recession.

The disclosure that Mr Boateng, 58, is returning to Britain comes only months after the Daily Telegraph reported that the Foreign Office was investigating allegations that his wife Janet, 52, had bullied the black domestic staff.

The complaints of verbal bullying against cooks, cleaners, gardeners and security staff poisoned the idyllic atmosphere at the High Commissioner's sumptuous residence in Cape Town.It boasts nine bedrooms, four acres of landscaped gardens, floodlit tennis courts, and a swimming pool.Saying goodbye will be a serious wrench for Mr Boateng who became Britain's first black Cabinet minister when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002.An incredulous Sir John Major, on a visit to Cape Town as Prime Minister in 1994, exclaimed loudly as he gazed across the tiered lawns at Table Mountain: "I've learned a lot in a few hours.For example, that the British High Commissioner lives in unimaginable luxury.And we pay for it." There is also an imposing eight bedroom mansion in Pretoria at the commissioner's disposal.