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PM Blair leads tributes

PUBLISHED: 15:47 15 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

AS soon as news of Mr Cann's death came through this afternoon, the tributes started to flow from politicians across the country - and ordinary people in the town.

AS soon as news of Mr Cann's death came through this afternoon, the tributes started to flow from politicians across the country – and ordinary people in the town.

Prime Minister Tony Blair today issued a statement expressing his regret at the news.

"I am very saddened to hear of the death of Jamie Cann. He was a conscientious MP, always fighting for people of his constituency.

"He will be missed by his many friends in Westminster, in the Labour Party and, of course, in Ipswich.

"All our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Ipswich council leader Peter Gardiner said his thoughts were with Mr Cann and his family.

"A lot of people owe Mr Cann a great deal – many of us owe our political careers to his work," he said.

"But all our thoughts are now with Rosie and his sons, this is a very sad day for Ipswich."

Conservative Russell Harsant – now a county councillor – was one of Mr Cann's political opponents, and vividly remembers facing him during his days as leader of the borough council.

"He was an accomplished leader of the council and it is terribly sad for his family," he said.

"During his time on the council he certainly knew his stuff and presented a formidable position. He was someone you had to watch carefully and he had a way of putting things across and telling you that you didn't know what you were talking about."

His predecessor as Labour MP for Ipswich was Ken Weetch.

"Ipswich has lost a true friend. He was a great parliamentarian for the town and he was a dedicated MP. I am very sorry to hear the news," he said.

Before he was elected to Parliament, Mr Cann was deputy head of Handford Hall school.

Heather Guttery, current deputy head, said that the news had come as a terrible shock.

"We are all very sorry to hear the news. He was a valued member of staff and even after he left he used to come back for school events. We were always pleased to see him back."

During his time as MP for Ipswich, Mr Cann contributed a weekly column to The Evening Star.

Star editor Nigel Pickover today said the MP was a much-loved leader of the local community.

"Everyone knew Jamie, and he always put Ipswich first. The town has lost a very good MP and a great friend, he will be missed by everyone.

"But our thoughts today are with Rosie, Andrew, and Jamie."

Mr Cann's agent and long-time friend John Mowles was deeply saddened by the news.

"It has not properly sunk in yet, but it's an awful blow," he said.

"It's a great shock to the family and my thoughts and prayers are with them.

"As a person you could not meet Jamie and forget him. He was very sharp minded and knowledgeable

"What Jamie has done for Ipswich I believe is more than you could expect from anyone.

"Jamie was one of those people who led front the front in every way. He knew what he wanted to achieve and how he wanted to go about it and he was very successful.

"He was a winner."

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