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Jack Dromey

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Preceded by
David Hanson

Jack Dromey

Succeeded by
Andy Sawford

5,129 (14.8%)

Labour Party

Preceded by
Sion Simon

Harriet Harman (m. 1982)

Preceded by
Lyn Brown

British Politician

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John Eugene Joseph "Jack" Dromey (born 29 September 1948) is a British Labour Party politician and trade unionist. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Erdington since the 2010 general election and was appointed Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government in the Ed Miliband shadow front bench. He became Shadow Policing Minister in 2013 but resigned from this position on 27 June 2016. On 10 October 2016, he returned to the frontbench by becoming Shadow Minister for Labour.


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He was previously the Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and the Treasurer of the Labour Party. He is married to Harriet Harman.

Jack Dromey Jack Dromey eyes safe Labour seat as Son Simon says he

Jack dromey mp

Early life and career as a trade unionist

Jack Dromey Jack Dromey closing in on safe Labour seat Telegraph

Dromey was born to Irish parents in Brent and raised in Kilburn, London. He was educated at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Holland Park.

In the early 1970s, while working at the Brent Law Centre, Dromey was elected as Chairman of his branch of the Transport and General Workers Union and as a delegate to the Brent Trades Council. In 1973 he took a leading role in planning the occupation of Centre Point, along with prominent Housing and Direct Action campaigners Jim Radford and Ron Bailey. This high-profile event was designed to highlight and publicise the perceived injustice of London's most prominent (and tallest) building development – which included a number of luxury flats – remaining empty year after year while tens of thousands of people languished on housing waiting lists across the capital. The event was postponed in 1973 but eventually carried out successfully in January the following year.

Jack Dromey built a reputation as an effective speaker and organiser in the Trade Union Movement and through his involvement with Brent Trades Council and the Greater London Association of Trades Councils, who sent him as a delegate to the South East Regional Council of the Trades Union Congress. As an officer of the local Trades Council he also had a prominent role in supporting the strike at the Grunwick film processing laboratory which lasted from 1976 to 1978. The mostly-female Asian workforce at Grunwick went on strike to demand that company boss George Ward recognise their union; instead, Ward dismissed the strikers, leading to a two-year-long confrontation involving mass picketing and some violence. The strike was ultimately unsuccessful.

Dromey was elected Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, having lost the 2003 election for General Secretary to Tony Woodley by a wide margin. Dromey is active in the Labour Party, serving on its National Executive Committee (NEC).

Cash for peerages

On 15 March 2006, in the Cash for Peerages scandal, Dromey spoke of not being aware – despite his being party treasurer – of £3.5 million loaned to the Labour Party in 2005 by three persons who were subsequently nominated for life peerages (Chai Patel, Sir David Garrard, and Barry Townsley). Loans made on commercial terms, as was claimed to be the case here, are not subject to reporting requirements to the Electoral Commission.

Dromey stated publicly that neither he nor Labour's elected NEC chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham had knowledge of or involvement in the loans and had only become aware when he read about it in the newspapers. Dromey stated that he was regularly consulted about conventional bank loans. As well as announcing his own investigation he called on the Electoral Commission to investigate the issue of political parties taking out loans from non-commercial sources. His resulting report was discussed by the NEC on 21 March 2006.

Labour Party donations scandal

Dromey was caught up in further financial scandals in 2007 as he was responsible for party finances, which included more than £630,000 in illegal donations from David Abrahams. Dromey again claimed to know nothing of the donations, with critics wondering why he had not examined the issue more closely Harriet Harman, Dromey's wife, was also caught up in the affair, as her staff had solicited and accepted illegal donations totalling £5,000.

As a result of this incident, there was growing concern about the fitness of Dromey to act as treasurer and Mark McDonald challenged Dromey for the position at re-election. McDonald argued that more transparency was needed: he was unsuccessful in his challenge.

Parliamentary career

Dromey first sought to stand for Labour at the 1997 general election, though he failed to make the shortlist for the Pontefract and Castleford constituency.

Dromey again sought a safe seat in 2007 when there were plans for a general election to be called. The Labour General Secretary at that time Peter Watt later revealed that the trade union Unite had given £1 million in donations on the assumption of the safe seat of Wolverhampton North East being given to Dromey.

In August 2009, it was revealed that senior Labour figures thought Dromey was likely to be selected in the Leyton and Wanstead constituency for the 2010 general election. The chair of Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party said he would be "somewhat aggrieved" were Dromey selected and Dromey's wife Harriet Harman had campaigned for all-women shortlists in safe seats. The party's candidates for the constituency were due to be announced in November 2009, though this was delayed for at least two months, with The Daily Telegraph alleging that the announcement was going to be made at the last possible minute so Dromey could be imposed as the candidate using emergency rules. It was revealed in January 2010 that the seat would not be subject to an all-woman shortlist, but the Constituency Labour Party subsequently selected former Hornchurch MP John Cryer as its candidate on 27 February.

In February 2010, Siôn Simon, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington since June 2001, announced his intention to stand down at the imminent general election. The National Executive Committee of the Labour Party swiftly announced that Birmingham Erdington would be an open short-list. Dromey was confirmed to have made that short-list. It was further confirmed on 27 February 2010, that Dromey was selected as the Labour Party candidate for Birmingham Erdington. He was elected on 6 May 2010.

In November 2011 John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards launched an investigation into allegations that Dromey had failed to declare thousands of pounds in salary. Dromey's entry in the register of Members' interests stated he had declined his salary from Unite since entering Parliament. However, in October 2011 he changed his entry to state "Between the General Election and 30 October 2010, I received £27,867 in salary." Dromey apologised to the House of Commons on 19 January 2012, in relation to this mistake.

Marriage and family

Dromey married Harriet Harman in 1982 in the borough of Brent, after meeting her on the picket line of the Grunwick dispute in 1977; Harman was legal advisor to the Grunwick Strike Committee. They have two sons (born February 1983 and November 1984) and a daughter (born January 1987). Labour colleague Patricia Hewitt is godmother to one of their children.

The couple decided to send their children to selective schools, the subject of negative comment at the time because it runs counter to Labour Party policy. Dromey served for ten years on the executive of the National Council for Civil Liberties, a pressure group for which Harman worked as legal officer.

They have a house in Suffolk, in addition to a home in Herne Hill, south London.

Select committees

  • Regulatory Reform Committee (2010–present)
  • Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (2010–2011)
  • References

    Jack Dromey Wikipedia