Labour MP Jack Dromey dies suddenly aged 73

Mr Dromey was married to the Labour grandee Harriet Harman

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 07 January 2022 19:56
Labour MP Jack Dromey dies 'suddenly' at age of 73

Sir Keir Starmer has paid tribute to the Labour MP Jack Dromey, who “lived his commitment to social justice every day” after the 73-year-old died suddenly at his flat in Birmingham on Friday morning.

Mr Dromey, a shadow Home Office minister and father-of-three, who was married to the Labour grandee and former deputy leader Harriet Harman, spoke in parliament as recently as Thursday and was understood to have died from natural causes.

“Jack Dromey MP died suddenly this morning aged 73 in his flat in Erdington,” a statement issued on behalf of his family by the Labour Party said.

“He had been a dedicated Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington since 2010. He was a much loved husband, father and grandfather, and he will be greatly missed.”

Mr Dromey and Ms Harman’s son, Joe, posted on social media: “Our dad – Jack – died suddenly today. We loved him so, so much. Rest in peace big man x.”

The Labour MP and trade unionist last spoke in parliament yesterday during a debate in Westminster Hall on the Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme, and thanked the efforts of the UK service personnel involved in the evacuation mission from Kabul.

He said the resettlement scheme was “about standing by those who desperately need our support at a time when, dare I say, our failure has helped to put them in an intolerable position”.

Labour MP Jack Dromey and his wife, Harriet Harman

“Our country has a proud history of providing a safe haven to those fleeing persecution,” he added, as he warned ministers against watering down the scheme “would be contrary to our most fundamental values of decency, honesty and fairness”.

The Birmingham MP also attended a speech delivered by Sir Keir on Tuesday where the Labour leader set out his “contract” with the British people and vision for government.

Paying tribute to him, Sir Keir said Mr Dromey had “dedicated his life to standing up for working people through the Labour movement, becoming deputy general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union and then a Labour MP.

“From supporting the strike at the Grunwick film processing laboratory, when he met Harriet, through to being elected to represent Birmingham Erdington in 2010, Jack lived his commitment to social justice every day.

“Jack was recognised for his determination to stand up for his constituents and he was highly respected and warmly regarded across parliament. My thoughts and those of the whole Labour movement are with Harriet, their children and all those who knew and loved Jack.”

Boris Johnson paid tribute on Twitter, while flags were lowered to half-mast in New Palace Yard in parliament on Friday evening in respect.

“Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Jack Dromey MP,” said the prime minister. “My thoughts are with Harriet and the family, and all those who knew him as a friend. May he rest in peace.”

The Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, added: “We are all in disbelief that the life-force that was Jack Dromey has died – this is another sad day for the House and a bad start to the year.

“I have known Jack since the mid-1980s when we fought to save the Royal Ordnance Factory in Chorley – he was national officer for the Transport and General Workers’ Union, and I was chair of economic development at Chorley Council.

“He was a great guy, down to earth, always positive and always looking to support and save jobs. At his heart he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather – so all our thoughts go to Harriet and the rest of the family at this very sad time.”

Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair also remembered Mr Dromey as “hugely likeable” and a “complete stalwart of the Labour and trade union movement”.

Mr Dromey, a former trade unionist, pictured in March 1978

“I am absolutely shocked and greatly saddened by the news about Jack. I have known him for almost 40 years,” the former Labour leader said.

“He was a complete stalwart of the Labour and trade union movement, who dedicated his life to the service of others whether in his work for his trade union or in later years as a Member of Parliament.

“He was also hugely likeable, a very popular colleague and well respected by all who worked with him. Cherie joins me in sending profound condolences to Harriet and all the family.”

Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister between 2007 and 2010, said: “Mourning the death of a friend, colleague and great humanitarian who never stopped fighting for social justice, Jack Dromey MP, who will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with Harriet and family.”

Deputy leader Angela Rayner added: “Jack Dromey was a great mentor and supporter to me but above all a friend for many years. This is absolutely tragic news for his family, his constituents and the party. I am thinking of Harriet and the rest of his family. He will be greatly missed.”

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