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Tributes pour in for Dame Tessa Jowell who stood as an MP candidate for Ilford North

PUBLISHED: 16:12 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 14 May 2018

Lucy Rea (r), 80, was shopping in local supermarket when she encountered Tessa Jowell, the Labour candidate in the Ilford North by-election, and her supporter Roy Hattersley, Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection. C. 1978. Picture: PA

Lucy Rea (r), 80, was shopping in local supermarket when she encountered Tessa Jowell, the Labour candidate in the Ilford North by-election, and her supporter Roy Hattersley, Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection. C. 1978. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Tributes have poured in for ex-Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, who has died aged 70 following a year-long battle with brain cancer.

Denis Healey, Chancellor of the Exchequer with Tessa Jowell at a press conference at the highly marginal Ilford North constituency, where they were campaigning in support of Jowell, Labour candidate. She hoped to retain the seat held by Millie Miller, who had a majority of only 778 at the General Election. Pciture: PADenis Healey, Chancellor of the Exchequer with Tessa Jowell at a press conference at the highly marginal Ilford North constituency, where they were campaigning in support of Jowell, Labour candidate. She hoped to retain the seat held by Millie Miller, who had a majority of only 778 at the General Election. Pciture: PA

The politician, who stood as a candidate for Ilford North in 1978, came back to the borough in 2015 to help Wes Streeting win a seat as an MP for the constituency.

Mr Streeting said he was “desperately saddened” by the news and will always be grateful for her support and friendship.

“Tessa was the very best of us - and brought out the best in all of us,” he said.

“So kind, generous and determined to make a real difference.

Dame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords in January. Picture:  PA WireDame Tessa Jowell speaking in the House of Lords in January. Picture: PA Wire

“What a legacy she leaves - not least through Sure Start, London 2012 and her final mission to make sure that, in future, people can live well with cancer, not just be dying of it.

“She is truly an example to us all and we will do our best to follow her example and honour her legacy.

MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, also paid tribute to Dame Tessa.

“The world is a darker place without her,” he said on Twitter.

Roy Hattersley,  former Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, Tessa Jowell, the Labour candidate in the 70s Ilford North by-election, and John Fraser, the Minister of State at the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection. Picture: PARoy Hattersley, former Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, Tessa Jowell, the Labour candidate in the 70s Ilford North by-election, and John Fraser, the Minister of State at the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection. Picture: PA

“She achieved so much with her calm competent and caring approach.”

Dame Tessa worked as a social worker and became an assistant director at Mind mental health charity before entering into the world of politics.

From a borough councillor in the 70s to becoming secretary of state for culture, media and sport in the 00s, she is credited with helping London secure the 2012 Olympic games and instigating the Sure Start initiative.

Former prime minister, Tony Blair said: “Tessa had passion, determination and simple human decency in greater measure than any person I have ever known.

“She was an inspiration to work with, and a joy to be near. She was the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends.

“What she achieved was remarkable.

“She was the first senior politician fully to understand the importance of public health and to shift health policy towards prevention of illness and not only cure.

“Whatever task she was set she gave her all, touching hearts and minds with her gentle compassion and sympathy.”

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