Baroness Tessa Jowell has been honoured by MPs as “the embodiment of empathy” after she died of brain cancer over the weekend.
The former Labour cabinet minister was remembered as “a person first and a politician second” in an emotional session of tributes in the Commons on Monday.
Tales of her achievements, including bringing the Olympics to London in 2012, and personal side were shared by politicians from across the parties in Parliament.
A Tessa Jowell “global symposium” was also announced to bring experts together to help battle brain cancer and government funding for research into the disease was doubled to £40m.
The ex-Dulwich and West Norwood MP passed away in her family’s arms at the age of 70 on Sunday after being in a coma since Friday.
Leading the tributes, Prime Minister Theresa May called Baroness Jowell’s political achievements “outstanding”.
She called her “a person first and a politician second” who “refused to take no for an answer”.
“Baroness Jowell persuaded Tony Blair and the Cabinet, the civil service and ultimately the whole country to get behind the (Olympic) bid,” she said.
Baroness Jowell also had a screensaver on her phone of her and David Beckham hugging after the announcement, the PM added.
“As she said, you can be a feminist, but still be susceptible to a David Beckham moment.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Baroness Jowell will be remembered for her “passion, sense of social justice, for her sense of inclusion and sense of fun in dealing with people”, adding: “Above all, also the manner of her leaving us.”
“She taught us how to live and I think she also taught us how to die.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, added of one of Baroness Jowell’s achievements: “When I was a young mum, it was the Sure Start centre that really helped me and my son.
“And for all that’s said and done in this chamber, that is the best that any honourable member can hope to have achieved.”
Sure Start was launched in 1998 to improve childcare, early education, health and family support.
Harriet Harman, who served with Baroness Jowell in the then-most female British cabinet, added that she “befriended people who were struggling”.
She added: “But Tessa also befriended the powerful in order to get them to back her progressive causes.”
Commons Speaker John Bercow also paid tribute to Baroness Jowell as “the embodiment of empathy, a stellar progressive change-maker and a well of practical compassion without rival”.
He said: “Tessa Jowell was the best of us. I rue her tragic and untimely passing which leaves all of us in this place – and countless others beyond it – infinitely and permanently poorer.”