Former UK Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell dies aged 70

Howard TerryMay 14, 2018

"Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known", said the former prime minister, in whose cabinet she served as culture secretary, overseeing the UK's drive to win the 2012 Olympic Games for London.

The former social worker lost to her Conservative rival, and was defeated again in the following year's general election.

Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah said Dama Tessa would "always be defined by the sheer courage and compassion for others she showed while facing cancer". He said:"Beyond Westminster people tend not to appreciate the very strong and real cross-party friendships that exist between Members of Parliament irrespective of policy differences".

"There when people needed her, both personally and also with her political hat on, and with her bravery over the previous year, always thinking of others". Her death is terribly sad news and my thoughts go out to her family.

"I hope this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me".

"As at so many times in her life, she has been an extraordinary driving force for change. She couldn't have done more to deliver it".

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".

"Quite simply, without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were".

He told the Press Association: "She did two things which were really important in that early stage".

She split from her lawyer husband David Mills in 2006 when she admitted being unaware he had paid off part of their mortgage with £350,000 at the centre of a bribery case involving former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Ilford North would not fall to Labour until 1997, by which time Ms Jowell had been an MP for five years in the south London Dulwich and West Norwood constituency. "Her determination and sense of humour surrounding them was infectious".

Sebastian Coe, the president of the IAAF and chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic Games, described Jowell as "a life enhancer", adding: "Without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were".

"Tessa was a true believer in the power and inspiration of sport, for which all of us who benefited from her support and conviction will be eternally grateful", said Grainger, who won rowing gold for Great Britain at London 2012.

Colleagues on the red benches also paid homage to her legacies, including her work in the House of Lords.

The couple parted after it was said to be damaging Dame Tessa's career, but they were later reconciled. She was the instigator of Sure Start and in the process gave hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of children.

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