Labour politician Jack Dromey dies aged 73

Westminster pays tribute to MP who passed away in his Birmingham home

MPs from across the political spectrum paid tribute to former leading trade unionist Jack Dromey. PA
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British Labour politician Jack Dromey died suddenly in his flat in his Birmingham constituency on Friday, his family said.

MPs from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the 73-year-old former leading trade unionist and sent their condolences to his wife, party grandee Harriet Harman.

Dromey, who had represented Birmingham Erdington since 2010, is understood to have died from natural causes.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer remembered Dromey, who was the deputy general secretary of the Unite union before becoming an MP, as having “dedicated his life to standing up for working people”.

“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,” the Labour leader said.

“Jack was recognised for his determination to stand up for his constituents and he was highly respected and warmly regarded across Parliament.”

Former prime minister Sir Tony Blair said the MP had “dedicated his life to the service of others” as a “complete stalwart of the Labour and trade union movement”.

The former Labour leader said: “He was also hugely likeable, a very popular colleague and well respected by all who worked with him. [My wife] Cherie joins me in sending profound condolences to Harriet and all the family.”

One of Dromey and Ms Harman’s sons, Joe Dromey, shared pictures of his father on Twitter as he mourned his death.

“We loved him so, so much,” he wrote. “Rest in peace big man x.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Jack Dromey MP. My thoughts are with Harriet and the family, and all those who knew him as a friend. May he rest in peace.”

Born in London in 1948, he had three children with Ms Harman, the former deputy Labour leader who announced last month she will stand down as an MP after the next general election.

They married in 1982.

Dromey joined the Labour front bench as shadow housing minister in 2010 under the leader at the time, Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband described him as a “heroic fighter for working people”, and added: “He was fearless in the face of the most powerful and tireless in the pursuit of the causes that mattered.”

He also served on the front bench under Jeremy Corbyn, despite supporting Owen Smith in his attempt to replace the then-Labour leader.

Mr Corbyn said he was “shocked at the sad loss”, remembering Dromey's work for the Transport and General Workers’ Union and on the Grunwick dispute for workers’ rights in the 1970s.

Westminster was stunned by the announcement of Dromey’s death, as only on Thursday, he had contributed to a Westminster Hall debate on Afghan refugees in his role as a shadow Home Office minister, to which he was appointed last month.

At the 2019 general election, Dromey defended his seat by 3,601 over the Conservatives in second place. His death means there will be a by-election to select the constituency’s next MP.

Updated: January 07, 2022, 8:09 PM