MP Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away at the age of 68 after a lengthy illness, the Conservative Party has confirmed.

The Prime Minister said the former cabinet minister would be “sorely missed” and described her as a “great servant”.

“I’m very sad to hear the news of the death of Dame Cheryl Gillan,” said Boris Johnson.

“She was a great servant to the people of Chesham and Amersham, to the Conservative Party and to the country as secretary of state for Wales.

“Always full of wise advice and good humour, she was much loved on all sides of the House of Commons and will be sorely missed.

“My sincere condolences to her family and friends.”

An MP since 1992, co-chairman of the Conservative Party Amanda Milling said the noted anti-HS2 campaigner had made a “huge contribution to public life”.

“It was incredibly sad to hear that Dame Cheryl Gillan MP passed away at the weekend,” said Ms Milling.

“Cheryl had been ill for some time, but battled her illness with great stoicism and grace.

“Cheryl was a dedicated parliamentarian for many decades, serving in the Cabinet and she made a huge contribution to public life and our Party.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl’s family and friends.”