Portsmouth MP pays tribute to Tessa Jowell

Tessa Jowell with former PM Tony Blair and Sir Charles Allen mayor of the Olympic Athletes village during London 2012

Tessa Jowell, the U.K.'s former culture secretary, has died at the age of 70.

"She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends", he said. "I will miss her enormously".

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

Rower and four-time Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent said: "RIP Tessa Jowell - absolutely central to the effort to win and stage the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012".

Dame Tessa, who served as culture secretary from 2001 to 2007, played a major role in securing the London 2012 Olympics.

A strong supporter of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dame Tessa was reported to have said she would "jump under a bus" for him.

He said: "No politician deserves greater credit for the Games".

"But if they were misleading, uncaring or obfuscating she would be tougher than anyone - and forensic with it".

"She showed unflinching tenacity in persuading the prime minister and the cabinet that the government should throw its full weight behind the bid", he said.

I had to pick Tessa up in a golf buggy very early and bring her to the live location.

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"And long after the Games were over, Tessa continued to fight for their legacy". She was also a very special person. She was later made Minister for the Olympics.

"And that's how I remember her because even though she's dead, I think of her as giving this sense of positivity to other people".

He said her impact on politics was enormous and "everything she touched turned to gold in some way, whether it was advancing equal pay for women, starting Sure Start - which is an vast programme for children in our country - or of course bringing the Olympics to Britain".

"Her networking skills, which I used to tease her about as she was always on the phone, were used to enormous effect for good, in promoting global collaboration and sharing research and best practice in the treatment of brain tumours and, with her family, turning personal tragedy into the possibility of hope for those facing a similar challenge in the future".

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

In Kent, county councillor for Sevenoaks North and Darent Valley, Roger Gough, tweeted to say: "Very sad indeed to hear of the passing of Tessa Jowell, whom I stood against in Dulwich and West Norwood in 1997".

Olympic rower and UK Sport chairman Dame Katherine Grainger described the news as "incredibly sad", adding: "As with every other aspect of her life, Tessa was a much respected and loved figure within British sport".

During a speech to the House of Lords in January, Jowell said: "I hope that this debate will give hope to other cancer patients, like me, so we can live well together with cancer, not just dying of it".

"As at so many times in her life, she has been an extraordinary driving force for change". However, her loyalty to New Labour was more than simply tactical or careerist.

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