Words & pics by Ed King
Shock spread across Erdington and Westminster as Jack Dromey MP was found dead at his constituency flat earlier today.
Born on 29 September 1948, the long standing “true Labour man” had held the Erdington seat since being first elected in 2010, following a career on the front line of worker disputes – serving as the Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and Unite the Union.
Jack Dromey also became Treasurer of the Labour Party and was called to the front benches as shadow Minister for Housing under the then Labour leader Ed Milliband.
Most recently, Jack Dromey was appointed shadow Immigration Minister by Sir Keir Starmer, working tirelessly with support organisations in the UK and aboard to support people fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban took over control of the country.
Jack Dromey is survived by his wife, Labour MP Harriet Harman, and his three children. His son, Joe Dromey, posted the following statement on Twitter earlier today: “Our dad – Jack – died suddenly today. We loved him so, so much. Rest in peace big man x”
Current Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid tribute to Jack Dromey today.
He stated: “The proud son of Irish parents, Jack Dromey dedicated his life to standing up for working people through the Labour movement, becoming Deputy General Secretary of the UK’s largest trade union 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.”
A close friend of Jack Dromey, Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward further added: “”I’m absolutely devastated at the death of my friend and colleague Jack Dromey.
“A true Labour man who served the people of Erdington with passion and dedication, Jack devoted his life to the service of others. He will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family at this time.”
In Erdington, Jack Dromey had recently fought alongside workers at the ill-fated GKN factory on Chester Road, voicing their plight in Parliament and brokering meetings between the international owners Melrose PLC and Unite the Union.
Mr Dromey had also been involved in the campaign to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’, brokering meetings between Birmingham City Council and local campaigners fighting to stop the proposed housing development on the green space.
Just before Christmas, Jack Dromey organised for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, to walk Erdington High Street with the new Street Pastors to see first hand the problems they faced.
A champion of the arts in Erdington, Jack Dromey was a firm supporter of local creative industries and the impact they made across the constituency – supporting the monthly Evening of Creativity events at Oikos Café and joining hundreds of people at the recent Little Amal event in October last year.
Jack Dromey was also heavily involved in the North Birmingham Economic Recovery Plan, working with regional stakeholders such as Witton Lodge Community Association and The Pioneer Groups to kickstart employment and encourage economic stability following Covid.
On Friday 7 January, the day he was found dead, Jack Dromey was scheduled to work on the Castle Vale estate – meeting with local support agencies and residents to address impact of spiralling fuel and living costs in one of the most affected areas of his constituency.
Ray Goodwin, CEO of Spitfire Services, had planned to spend the morning with the Erdington MP and local Castle Vale residents. He told Erdington Local:
“What you saw was what you got, there were no angles there. He was a remarkable and honourable man.
“He was at the centre of many community projects; he believed in the strength of people and community, that they were the answer to many things, and he fought for them. I’m heartbroken. I’m going to miss him terribly.”
For more on Jack Dromey visit www.jackdromey.co.uk