Former Culture Secretary Dame Tessa Jowell has confirmed she is to step down as an MP at the next general election.
Dame Tessa has been MP for Dulwich and West Norwood since winning the seat for Labour from the Conservatives in 1992.
The 66-year-old – credited with leading London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics – is understood to be considering a move to the US to take up a professorship at Harvard.
Her announcement had been expected since she confirmed in September that she was standing down as shadow Olympics minister on Labour’s frontbench team.
She tweeted: “Tonight I announced my decision to stand down at next election as MP for Dulwich & West Norwood – hardest personal decision I have ever made.”
Dame Tessa was one of New Labour’s leading Blairites – supporters of former PM Tony Blair whose influence has waned under Ed Miliband’s leadership of the party.
Sky News Chief Political Correspondent Jon Craig said: “This will be seen as yet another leading Blairite bowing out from the Labour Party.”
Mr Blair said that as well as being an able and determined politician, she was “kind, decent and loyal in a way I have seldom seen in politics” and had a “rare integrity”.
There were also tributes from British Olympic Association chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, who said she was the “political driving force” behind the 2012 bid and “an inseparable part of their ultimate success”.
As a minister she also set up the Sure Start children’s centre programme and was made a Dame in 2012 for services to both politics and charity.
Labour leader Ed Miliband – informed by Dame Tessa of her decision last week – said that, while the Olympics would be her “greatest legacy”, she was a “unique politician” of warmth, spirit, loyalty and generosity.
“You have set a very high bar for whoever is chosen by the local party to succeed you and fight for the seat at the general election,” he told her in a letter.
Hmmm, stepping down is a good thing to allow some other person rule.
Its Parker baby