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Tributes to Dame Tessa Jowell as councillor who reached the cabinet dies at 70

Tony Blair: 'She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends'

13 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

TRIBUTES were flowing in this morning (Sunday) to Dame Tessa Jowell after her family announced she had died aged 70.

The former Camden councillor, who became an MP in Dulwich and went onto serve in Tony Blair’s cabinet, had been suffering from a brain tumour. In her final months, she had campaigned for better access to new treatments to all cancer patients and received a standing ovation after addressing the House of Lords in January.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “It’s devastating to hear the news of Tessa Jowell’s death. From councillor to cabinet Minister, her achievements were huge, including helping to bring the Olympics to London. Her strength in raising awareness of her illness and fighting for better treatment for others inspired us all.”

Tessa Jowell visiting the Roundhouse during its refurbishment

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said: “I’m devastated to hear Tessa has passed away. I had the honour of working for her briefly in 2010. She was such a role model and an incredibly selfless person. Thoughts are with her family.”

She added: “She was the best of Camden and I was proud to have known her. She was a real champion of women, we will miss her.”

Alastair Campbell, Labour’s former director of communications, said during an appearance on the BBC: “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.”

Tulip Siddiq paying tribute to Tessa Jowell last month

Dame Tessa, who lived for many years in Kentish Town before moving to Highgate village, had played a key role in bringing the Olympic Games to London in 2012.

Mr Blair said Dame Tessa had “passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known”.

He added: “She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends.”

Tessa Jowell with former council leader Nash Ali

The family said she had died peacefully at around 10pm last night with close relatives around her. A statement said: “In addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in recent months doctors tried innovative new treatments which Tessa gladly embraced, but sadly the tumour recently progressed very quickly.”

Tessa Jowell with Frank Dobson, Sally Gimson and Nash Ali

Locally, council leader Labour councillor Georgia Gould said: “So sad to lose Tessa Jowell who has been a much-needed bright spot of compassion, optimism and humanity in public life. We are proud to count her as one of Camden’s greats, with her lifelong commitment to using her energy to lift others. She lit a path for many to women to follow.”

Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper said: “Tessa Jowell also spent 15 years as a Camden councillor. She topped the ballot in her ward at the age of just 23, repeated the feat in a different ward three years later, and was a committee chair at the age of 25. Pretty incredible.”

He added: “Her popularity across the political divide was an enduring testament to her commitment and capability as a public servant, and her stoicism to the last will help countless thousands of cancer patients like her.”

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