By Alex Stevenson
Tessa Jowell has brought a frontbench career spanning nearly 20 years to a close by resigning from the shadow Cabinet this afternoon.
The former shadow Olympics minister was widely expected to stand down after the conclusion of London 2012 and confirmed her departure to colleagues today.
She was the politician who first persuaded Tony Blair to bid for the Olympics ten years ago while serving as culture, media and sport secretary. Subsequently she served as Olympics minister, before working with the coalition to ensure the Games were a success.
Having spent the Games in the Olympic village living alongside athletes, Jowell now feels the time is right for her to leave frontline politics for good.
"To have been able to be part of planning and delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games from start to finish is a rare opportunity in public life and that... has been a privilege. After ten years with the Olympics and Paralympics it is job done," she said.
"Our country has changed this summer and for the better because of the power of the British people, the Games Makers and our great Olympic and Paralympic athletes."
Ed Miliband, who may be forced to implement a limited reshuffle as a result of her departure, praised Jowell's "enormous" legacy to British politics.
"What we have seen at the London 2012 would not have been possible without Tessa's determination and dedication both in championing the bid and playing a major role in delivering the Games. For this the whole country owes her a huge debt of gratitude."
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By Alex Stevenson
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