Birthday Honours: Tessa Jowell among political recipients

image captionTessa Jowell was Olympics minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown

Shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has become a dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours - one of several political figures to be recognised.

Ms Jowell, who played an important part in bringing the Games to London, said she was "overwhelmed" at the honour.

Conservative MP Tony Baldry, Lib Dem MP Malcolm Bruce and Labour MP Tony Cunningham all become knights.

A knighthood goes to ex-SNP MP George Reid, who has served as presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Those receiving political honours were selected by the newly-created Parliamentary and Political Services Committee.

Chaired by Conservative peer Lord Spicer, it is made up of independent members and the chief whips of the three major parties.

The list also sees the revival of the British Empire Medal. The honour had been scrapped in 1993 by then Tory PM John Major but was revived by David Cameron to recognise "the dedication and hard work so many provide to their communities".

Sir Bob Kerslake, who chairs the main honours committee, said the medal's reinstatement reflected Mr Cameron's own priorities.

"One of the clear steers from the prime minister has been his desire to reflect in the honours system commitments around the Big Society, and to recognise in a very strong way the contribution of people to the community through voluntary effort," he said.


Dame Tessa, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood since 1992, was Olympics minister and culture secretary in the previous Labour government.

On becoming a dame, she told the BBC: "When I got the letter I felt completely overwhelmed and delighted, and today I'm sure I feel like thousands of other people who are lucky enough to have had their contribution recognised by the Queen."

Former minister and MP for Banbury Mr Baldry is currently the Second Church Estates Commissioner - a role which sees him answer questions in Parliament on matters relating to the Church of England.

Mr Bruce, Lib Dem member for Gordon, is vice president of the National Deaf Children's Society and chair of the Deafness All Party Group in Parliament.

Labour MP for Workington Mr Cunningham has campaigned for many years on human rights and international development issues.