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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Blair statement on Mo Mowlam
Mo Mowlam and Tony Blair
Tony Blair has paid tribute to Mo Mowlam's 'remarkable personality'
Prime Minister Tony Blair has made this statement following the death of former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam:

Mo was surely one of the most remarkable and colourful personalities ever to come into politics. Great company, utterly irreverent, full of life and fun.

Yet behind that extraordinary front presented to the world was one of the shrewdest political minds I ever encountered.

She was a natural politician, could read a situation and analyse and assess it as fast as anyone.

She was a key architect of New Labour but had support across the spectrum.

'Transformed politics'

She was a totally modern social democrat but was equally at home with a traditional trade union audience. The only thing she couldn't handle was stuffiness of any kind and that was because she didn't want to.

She didn't have to talk about equality - she exuded it naturally and with an absence of affectation that was marvellous to behold.

Throughout the years of opposition, she was instrumental in turning the Labour Party into a party of government.

Of course she came into her own in respect of Northern Ireland.

It is no exaggeration to say she transformed the politics, not just of Northern Ireland itself, but crucially of relations between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom; and it was this transformation that created the culture in which peace-making could flourish.

Suddenly Nationalist, Republican and Catholic Ireland had every preconception of the English up-ended and rendered out of date.

'Legendary fortitude'

She didn't have to talk about equality - she exuded it naturally and with an absence of affectation that was marvellous to behold.

Mo was a complete one-off - we were lucky to know her
I remember the early meetings leading up to the Good Friday Agreement and the slightly bemused astonishment of all and sundry as, by a mixture of determination, charm and sheer life force, she bowled everyone over.

She will be mourned in Ireland every bit as much as here.

Her illness was a tragedy. She bore it with legendary fortitude.

The last two years were difficult.

Her husband Jon, to whom she was devoted, nursed her with immense care and patience. Our thoughts and sympathy are with him, with the two children and all the family.

Mo was a complete one-off. We were lucky to know her.


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