As culture secretary, she has introduced plans to liberalise gambling and also a shake-up in Britain's media ownership laws. She has defended the national lottery, claiming Lotto cash should be spent on "progressive" causes - even if they contradict government policy. This followed a £340,000 lottery grant given to an immigration group on condition it abandoned "doctrinaire" publicity and did not use the funds to oppose terrorist deportations.
As minister for public health, Ms Jowell was embroiled in the Bernie Ecclestone affair, when the government gave Formula One motor racing an exemption from the ban on tobacco advertising after its boss, Mr Ecclestone, gave an anonymous £1m donation to the Labour Party.
The MP for Dulwich and West Norwood was moved after two years at the ministry of health to take over responsibility for implementing the New Deal jobs programme as minister of state for employment.
Ms Jowell, who has written articles on social policy, was given the extra task of heading up the government's women's unit alongside Baroness Jay.