Remembering Jack Dromey


I’m struggling to take in the heart­breaking news that my good friend, Jack Dromey, has died.

I knew Jack for the best part of half a century. I first came across him back in the 1970s when I was a student activist. He was leading action in support of women striking for trade union recognition at the Grunwick film processing company in London. It summed up Jack’s outlook and work ever since. Principled and totally committed to fight for equality and against injustice wherever he saw it. Solidarity was a word he lived.

Fast forward to the early noughties and, by then as Deputy General Secretary of the TGWU, he was a great support to me personally and, more importantly, to MG Rover workers as we fought to save the Longbridge car plant from closure in 2000 and then again in 2005. Again his principles were firm in support of local jobs and Midlands manufacturing more broadly. As a local MP in the years that followed he showed the same commitment in the massive contribution he made to securing a future for Jaguar Land Rover, including the Castle Bromwich plant in his Birmingham Erdington constituency. Over the past year, he backed the workers at GKN Driveline with equal tenacity.

Jack was also the anchor of the Birmingham Group of Labour MPs and it was a pleasure to serve alongside him as a colleague for most of the past decade. He had a unique talent for working with people locally to raise issues of significance well beyond Birmingham. He demonstrated it in his tireless work as Shadow Policing minister and other Labour Front Bench roles. His campaign in support of nursery schools in Birmingham had a real impact in persuading the Conservative Government nationally to change its approach to funding. But he always knew there was still a lot more to do. He focus was on the future. Anyone who worked with him will know he was always talking about “the next stages”.

Jack and I were politically close but he was also a valued friend to me and my partner Amy at difficult times personally. We will always be grateful to him for that friendship.

We personally, the people of Birmingham, trade union members and the Labour movement as a whole have a lot to thank Jack Dromey for. All our thoughts are with Harriet and the family he treasured.

Rest in peace, comrade. We will never forget you and we’ll keep on fighting.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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