Ms Mowlam, 55, suffered a brain tumour eight years ago, but was given the all-clear in 1997. Her frail appearance in recent months has prompted fears that it has returned. She was admitted to King's College Hospital, London, two weeks ago after a sudden deterioration in her condition. She has been moved to the Pilgrim Hospice, Canterbury, to be closer to her family.
Ms Mowlam retired from the Commons in 2001 after 14 years, in which time she became one of the best-known figures on the Labour benches.
Her bravery in fighting her illness won widespread admiration and her candid speaking style encouraged Tony Blair to appoint her Northern Ireland Secretary in 1997. She played an important part in bringing about the IRA ceasefire of that year and encouraged President Bill Clinton to become involved in the peace process.
But she ran into trouble in her dealings with Unionist leaders and two years later, amid deteriorating relations with Downing Street, she was demoted to the Cabinet Office, where she continued to court controversy.
After quitting as MP for Redcar, North Yorkshire, she wrote an autobiography and several articles for The Independent.Reuse content