50 Facts About Tessa Jowell


Tessa Jowell served as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from 2001 to 2007 and Minister for the Cabinet Office from 2009 to 2010.


Tessa Jowell stood down from the House of Commons at the 2015 general election.


Tessa Jowell was nominated for a life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours and was raised to the peerage as Baroness Jowell, of Brixton in the London Borough of Lambeth, on 27 October 2015.


Tessa Jowell Jane Helen Douglas Palmer was born at Middlesex Hospital in Marylebone, London, to Kenneth Nelson Veysey Palmer, a physician, and his wife, Rosemary, a radiographer.


Tessa Jowell was educated at the independent St Margaret's School for Girls in Aberdeen, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh.


Tessa Jowell became a social worker, initially working in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh and as a childcare officer in Lambeth, before training at Goldsmiths College as a psychiatric social worker.


Tessa Jowell subsequently worked at the Maudsley Hospital, and later became assistant director of the mental health charity Mind.


Tessa Jowell stood again in Ilford North at the 1979 general election, unsuccessfully.


Tessa Jowell was appointed as Minister of State in the Department of Health following the 1997 Labour electoral landslide.


Tessa Jowell moved, again as Minister of State, to the Department for Education and Employment in 1999.


Tessa Jowell was appointed Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport following the 2001 election, replacing the sacked Chris Smith.


Tessa Jowell blocked the BBC's plans for the digital channel BBC3, on the grounds that they were insufficiently different from commercial offerings, and imposed extra conditions on BBC News 24 after it was criticized on the same grounds by the Lambert Report.


Tessa Jowell was responsible for the Communications Act 2003 which established a new media regulator, Ofcom.


Tessa Jowell dealt with complaints that the lottery had been directed to fund programmes that should have been covered by mainstream taxation.


In 2004, Tessa Jowell faced resistance to proposals for a series of so-called "super casinos", to be sanctioned as part of the Gambling Act 2005 which liberalised Britain's gaming laws.


In March 2005, Tessa Jowell announced a new governance system for the BBC: the BBC Trust, to replace the long-established Board of Governors.


In Gordon Brown's reshuffle in June 2007, following his succession as Labour leader and Prime Minister, Tessa Jowell was demoted from her position as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.


Tessa Jowell retained her Olympics portfolio and was appointed Paymaster General and Minister for London, being allowed to attend Cabinet, although not as a full member.


Tessa Jowell was further demoted on 3 October 2008, losing her Minister for London role to Tony McNulty, and being allowed to attend cabinet only when her area of responsibility was on the agenda.


Tessa Jowell was a zealous supporter of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, reportedly saying on one occasion that she would "jump under a bus" for him.


Tessa Jowell was very supportive of New Labour and was fully loyal to its agenda, earning herself a strong reputation as a Blairite.


In opposition, Tessa Jowell supported David Miliband's campaign to become Leader of the Labour Party, but served in Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet when he became Leader of HM Opposition.


Tessa Jowell was involved in the Blue Labour movement in the Labour Party, and was a contributor to The Purple Book, drawing on her background on the Right of the Labour Party.


Tessa Jowell was in charge of London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics.


Tessa Jowell came up with the idea in 2002, during her time as Culture Secretary, when she said there was very little support from within the Cabinet, with many colleagues thinking that Paris' bid would win.


Tessa Jowell convinced the Government to support the bid and went ahead with it.


Tessa Jowell remained on the 2012 Olympics Organising Committee, with Lord Coe and Jeremy Hunt.


Tessa Jowell resigned her role as Shadow Minister for the Olympics in September 2012, and returned to the House of Commons backbenches.


In November 2013, Tessa Jowell announced that she would not contest the next general election.


Tessa Jowell was nominated for life peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours by the Labour leader.


Tessa Jowell was raised to the peerage as Baroness Jowell, of Brixton in the London Borough of Lambeth, on 27 October 2015.


In January 2018, Tessa Jowell got a standing ovation in the House of Lords for a speech.


Tessa Jowell began by speaking of how she came to be diagnosed with an extremely lethal form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.


Tessa Jowell went on to advocate making more cancer treatments available in the NHS.


Tessa Jowell's husband David Mills was an international corporate lawyer who has acted for Silvio Berlusconi, then the Italian Prime Minister.


Tessa Jowell was investigated by the Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell over the allegations surrounding her husband, because of a possible conflict of interest between her personal life and ministerial duties.


Tessa Jowell said "although we are separated I have never doubted his innocence".


Scepticism that Tessa Jowell was unaware of the details of her husband's dealings with Berlusconi led to a Private Eye front cover of her with a speech bubble saying: "I have never met my husband".


In 2001, Tessa Jowell was widely criticised for 'interfering' in Independent Television Commission rulings on complaints regarding Brass Eye.


In 2006, Tessa Jowell was criticised for projected cost over-runs on the London 2012 Summer Olympics project, which came under the supervision of her former department.


Tessa Jowell was among a number of ministers accused of hypocrisy for opposing post office closures in their own constituencies while supporting the government's closure strategy at the national level.


Tessa Jowell was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport during the News of the World newspaper phone-hacking scandal.


Tessa Jowell passed them on to a national newspaper, the Daily Mirror.


Tessa Jowell defended the reading and passing-on of the emails, declaring that, "in the world of social media and email, there is no public and private".


Tessa Jowell said on Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme in September 2012 that she was seeing Mills regularly, saying that they had "reached a state of stability which I never thought possible".


Tessa Jowell had a son and daughter, as well as three stepchildren from her husband's first marriage.


In January 2011, during the News of the World phone hacking affair, it was revealed that Tessa Jowell had contacted lawyers as she attempted to find out who hacked into her voicemails on 28 separate occasions during 2006.


Tessa Jowell contacted police in late January 2011 to inform them that there had recently been an unsuccessful attempt to listen to voicemail messages on her phone.


Tessa Jowell wanted more treatment for cancer patients, knowledge about cancer treatment shared more effectively, speedier diagnosis, greater access to experimental treatments, and improved survival rates.


Tessa Jowell died at her family home in Shipston-on-Stour on 12 May 2018, after suffering a brain haemorrhage the day before and then falling into a coma.