Tributes paid to inspiring politician
Politicians have paid tribute to Dame Tessa Jowell, who passed away on 12 May. Jowell served as a Labour Member of Parliament for more than 20 years.
One of Jowell’s greatest successes was Sure
Start, a Government programme that gives support to parents and their children under the age of four. It aims to help parents give children the best start in life. As part of Sure Start, 3,500 children’s centres were created across the UK. Jowell said she was “very proud” of setting up the scheme, as she believed the first three years in a child’s life are critically important.
Another high point of her political career was helping to bring the Olympic Games to London in 2012. Her department was responsible for winning the right to hold the games and then for putting them on. Team GB finished third in the medal table, winning 65 medals, including 29 golds. Andy Hunt, the former British Olympics Association chief executive, described it as the “greatest performance of our greatest team at the greatest Olympics ever”.
In May 2017, Jowell was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. She spent the last months of her life campaigning for better cancer treatment across the UK and for better tests to be introduced. During a speech about brain-cancer treatment in the House of Lords a few months ago, she was given a standing ovation (when an audience stands up to applaud a person or performance).
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who worked with Jowell in government, said, “If anyone wants to know what politics can achieve, they can just look at her life and how she lived it, and how she ended it, as a testimony to all that’s best in politics.”
Shortly after Jowell passed away, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was doubling the funding for brain cancer and launching a new test across the UK. May said it would be “a lasting legacy” for Jowell, whom she described as “inspirational”.
Jowell was an MP for more than 20 years.