Ex-Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell dies

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Ex-Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell dies

Dame Tessa Jowell, a former UK Minister for the Olympics, who helped pave the way for London 2012, has died aged 70. "She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends".

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, former Labour director of communications and godfather to Dame Tessa's children Alastair Campbell said: "She really is the best of politics, the best of humanity, and as Tony Blair said this morning, there really aren't many like her".

Jowell, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, died late last night after suffering a haemorrhage on Friday.

David Beckham, who was an ambassador for the London 2012 bid, wrote on Instagram: "Dame Tessa was a passionate and awesome woman in so many different ways and will be missed by so many".

The former social worker played a key role in persuading her Labour Cabinet colleagues to back a London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, defying civil service advice and even her Cabinet colleagues who were convinced Paris would win.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the dignity and courage with Dame Tessa confronted her illness was "humbling" and "inspirational", and that her campaigning was a "lasting tribute to a lifetime of public service".

"Despite going through all of that and wanting to spend precious time with her family... she gave up so much of that time to continue to campaign, to ask for change, because it really matters", she told the BBC.

Former acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said Dame Tessa was "no softie", adding: "She was clever and tough".

"And long after the Games were over, Tessa continued to fight for their legacy".

I had to pick Tessa up in a golf buggy very early and bring her to the live location. Without her the sporting landscape of the United Kingdom would have looked very different, and so many other tangible legacies left dormant.

On May 24 2017 she had two seizures in a taxi as she made her way to a talk in east London.

"I can say with confidence she embraced everyone, survivors and families of the dead", she said.

Dame Tessa will be remembered at Westminster as someone who managed to be ideologically committed to her cause without overt sectarian bitterness.

Cllr Peter John tweeted: "Following the sad death of Dame Tessa Jowell, who served as constituency MP for Dulwich & West Norwood between 1992 and 2015, Lambeth and Southwark Councils are opening books of condolence at their respective Town Halls".

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of the Brain Tumour Charity, said: "Tessa Jowell's courage and honesty in speaking about her brain tumour diagnosis, coupled with her fierce determination to improve the lives of others affected by the disease, has already brought hope to an often-forgotten community of patient and families".

He described her as a "positive life force who never stopped smiling". However, her loyalty to New Labour was more than simply tactical or careerist.

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