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Tessa Jowell

From Academic Kids

The Right Honourable Tessa Jane Helena Douglas Jowell (born September 17, 1947) is a British politician who is Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Born in London, Tessa Jowell attended the University of Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh and Goldsmiths College, London. She became a psychiatric social worker and eventually assistant director of the mental health charity MIND. In 1978 she was Labour Party candidate in a byelection in Ilford North but lost the seat to the Conservatives.

Elected as an MP at the 1992 general election, she was successively appointed as an opposition spokesperson on health, an opposition whip and spokesperson on women before returning to the shadow health team in 1996, in time to become a minister in the Department of Health (UK) after the 1997 landslide. She moved to the Department for Education and Employment in 1999.

Jowell was appointed Culture Secretary after the 2001 election, replacing the sacked Chris Smith. Her main concern as Culture Secretary has been the future of television broadcasting. She blocked the BBC's original plans for the digital channel BBC3 on the grounds that they were insufficiently different from commercial offerings, and imposed extra conditions on BBC News 24 after it was criticised on the same grounds by the Lambert Report. She was also responsible for the Communications Act 2003 which established a new media regulator, OFCOM. It also relaxed regulations on ownership of UK television stations, though a "public interest" test was introduced as a compromise after a rebellion in the House of Lords. Jowell has recently run into trouble because of resistance to proposals for 24hr gambling and licenses to be granted for a series of Las Vegas style casinos. Jowell has also had to deal with complaints that the National Lottery has been directed to fund programmes that should be covered by mainstream taxation. Jowell oversaw a restructuring of the Arts funding system but lost out in the 2004/5 spending round resulting in a cut in her departmental budget and the loss of tax credits for UK Film production.

In the cabinet reshuffle following the 2005 Election it was predicted that Jowell would be promoted to one of the larger spending departments but lost out and was returned to the DCMS with the additional responsibilities of Minister for Women.

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Preceded by:
Chris Smith
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
2001–
Followed by:
Current Incumbent
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