Mo Mowlam dies in hospice

Ms Mowlam, 55, who previously suffered a brain tumour, died at the Pilgrim's Hospice in Canterbury, Kent, at 8.10am.

Ms Mowlam had difficulties with her balance as a result of radiotherapy treatment for the tumour.

Earlier this month she fell and banged her head and never regained consciousness.

She was taken to King's College Hospital and was transferred last week to the hospice.

She had earlier asked not to be resuscitated and in the last few days food and water were withdrawn.

Family representative Brian Basham said: "Mo Mowlam passed away today at 8.10 am.

"Her family wishes to thank the many well wishers who have sent cards, messages and flowers and to say that, although, the funeral will be a private family occasion, there will be a memorial event in a few months.

"The family requests that flowers are not sent and suggests that, as an alternative, friends might like to make a charitable donation to the Pilgrim's Hospice, in 56 London Road, Canterbury, CT2 8JA."

Her death comes less than two weeks after former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook died.

Ms Mowlam - one of New Labour's most popular figures - stood down from the Commons at the 2001 general election after 14 years as an MP.

Tony Blair made her Northern Ireland Secretary when Labour swept to power in 1997 and she quickly made a name for herself as a down-to-earth and brutally honest operator.

She won widespread acclaim for her perseverance in working towards the Good Friday peace agreement the following year. Her achievements were all the more remarkable because she was recovering from treatment for the brain tumour at the time.

Renowned for her light-hearted disregard of formality, kicking off her shoes and chewing gum in meetings, she reputedly took her wig off to break tension in tense talks.

She took a particular political risk in 1998 by entering the infamous Maze Prison to speak to convicted paramilitaries when it became clear the peace process needed their backing.

Loyalist UDA/UFF prisoners had previously withdrawn their support. After her face-to-face talks with the prisoners, the paramilitaries' political representatives then announced they were rejoining the talks.

But there was growing opposition to her from more mainstream unionists. In 1999 she was replaced by Peter Mandelson and moved to become Cabinet "enforcer".

But her time in the post was marked by a steady stream of reports that someone in high places was briefing against her. There were also claims the Prime Minister had been angered when the Labour Party conference gave her a longer standing ovation than him.

She became even more outspoken after she stood down as an MP, saying it was "harder and harder to defend what the Labour Government is doing".

Ms Mowlam was born in Watford on September 18 1949 and nearly died of pneumonia three months later. Her father was an alcoholic and the family was invariably short of cash.

They moved to Coventry where she attended Coundon Court Comprehensive School before going on to study at Durham and Iowa universities.

Ms Mowlam worked as a lecturer and university administrator before being elected MP for Redcar in 1987. In 1995 she married Labour-supporting merchant banker Jon Norton - already a father of two.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?