NHS: Cancer Treatments - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:47 pm on 25th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Labour 4:47 pm, 25th January 2018

My Lords, there is a lot of skulduggery in politics. Tessa said that this was not about party politics. It is not about party politics, but it is so much about politics. Looking to my left and to my right, I see every Labour Peer I have ever met—and a large number I have never met. Looking further to my left, I see innumerable Members of Parliament and, looking to the Public Gallery, I have never seen it as full as it is today. Every one of them is a friend or a member of the family of Tessa Jowell. In the decades that I have known her, she has done what everybody in the country wants their politicians to do—to earnestly follow noble causes and to try to make life better for other people. Tessa has been doing that in every way on every day for years and years.

These last months, for Tessa, have not been easy, but three things shine out. First is the extent to which she has touched other people’s lives. She has had masses and masses of correspondence from people she has helped. Just one sticks in my mind. It concerns a journalist she had met when she was Secretary of State for something. The journalist was having trouble, having just had a baby. Tessa went to a far part of south London—I apologise to the people of south London—just to see the journalist and offer her assistance in relation to bringing up her new baby. That was absolutely typical of Tessa.

Tessa said that we should try to bring some kindness into politics. That is what she has done all along. There is so much to go with Tessa. She is going to make such a difference in what happens in the world. When the test of character came for Tessa on 24 May 2017—and, my goodness, it came—my goodness me, she passed it.