The first and only female leader of Birmingham City Council has died.

Theresa Stewart died after a "long illness", her son, Henry, posted on Twitter, adding his mother's illness was not coronavirus-related.


The current council leader, Ian Ward, said she was "an amazing, inspirational and compassionate woman, who made a huge difference" to her city.


Mrs Stewart was a member of the Labour Party for 72 years, her son said.


She was elected as a Labour councillor for Billesley ward in 1970 and held her seat for 31 years, becoming council leader between 1993 and 1999 and led campaigns on women's rights, she met Nelson Mandela and, again, was – and still is - the city council's first - and so far only - female leader


The deputy leader of Birmingham's Labour administration, Brigid Jones, said Mrs Stewart encouraged her to become a councillor, adding she was "an absolute inspiration".


Former cabinet member and one-time acting leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, said Mrs Stewart was a "pioneer" for women's equality and representation, adding she was a "truly exceptional woman".


Mrs Stewart also served as the city's mayor.


When she gained the position of leader of Europe's largest local authority in 1993, it made her one of the most influential women in politics at the time. She was hugely influential in the second city - and still its only female leader.


During her time as a councillor, she helped find the Birmingham Pregnancy Advisory Service, and campaigned to make sure family allowance was paid directly to mothers.


Her son Henry described how she saw her role as a Labour councillor as "doing for poor people what lawyers do for rich people".


He also described how, aged 87, she was still out campaigning door-to-door for the party during the 2017 General Election.


The multitude of tributes from across the political spectrum in Birmingham and beyond is testament to a woman described as a political icon.


She was 90.