Jack Dromey

Jack Dromey

Dromney speaking to Policy Exchange in 2013
Shadow Minister for Labour
Assumed office
10 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by position established
Shadow Minister for Policing
In office
7 October 2013  27 June 2016
Leader Ed Miliband
Harriet Harman (acting)
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by David Hanson
Succeeded by Lyn Brown
Shadow Minister for Housing
In office
7 October 2010  7 October 2013
Leader Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Lyn Brown
Succeeded by Andy Sawford
Treasurer of the Labour Party
In office
30 September 2004  26 September 2010
Leader Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded by Jimmy Elsby
Succeeded by Diana Holland
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Erdington
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Siôn Simon
Majority 5,129 (14.8%)
Personal details
Born (1948-09-21) 21 September 1948
Brent, Middlesex, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Harriet Harman
Residence Herne Hill, South London and Suffolk
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Jack Dromey

Jack Dromey is a British Labour Party politician and trade unionist, born on 21 September 1948. He has been the Member of Parliament 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.[1]

He was previously the Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and the Treasurer of the Labour Party.[2] He is married to Harriet Harman.

Early life and career as a trade unionist

Dromey was born to Irish parents in Brent and raised in Kilburn, London. He was educated at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Holland Park.[3]

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,[4] 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.[5]

In 1976, Dromey, heavily bearded and dressed in "bush" or "safari" style, attended, as an (MPLA-approved) observer, the infamous trial of European and American mercenaries in Loanda, Angola, held under the auspices of the victorious Cuban-backed MPLA regime.

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).

Donation scandals

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.[6]

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[7][8] Harriet Harman, Dromey's wife, was also caught up in the affair, as her staff had solicited and accepted illegal donations totalling £5,000.[9]

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.[10][11]

Parliamentary career

Dromney (right) with Frank Sharry at Chatham House in 2011

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.[12]

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.[13][14]

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.[15] The chair of Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party said he would be "somewhat aggrieved" were Dromey selected[16] and Dromey's wife Harriet Harman had campaigned for all-women shortlists in safe seats.[13] 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.[17] It was revealed in January 2010 that the seat would not be subject to an all-woman shortlist,[18] but the Constituency Labour Party subsequently selected former Hornchurch MP John Cryer as its candidate on 27 February.[19]

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.[20] He was elected on 6 May 2010.[2]

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."[21] 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.[22] 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 10 years on the executive of the National Council for Civil Liberties,[23] a pressure group for which Harman worked as legal officer.[24]

They have a house in Suffolk,[25] in addition to a home in Herne Hill, south London.[26]

Select committees


  1. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/jack-dromey-jeremy-corbyn-shadow-12004741
  2. 1 2 General Election 2010 Birmingham City Council
  3. https://www.rfu.com/news/2013/february/news-articles/040213_dromey_all_schools
  4. Jack Dromey (25 June 2014). "Private Rented Sector". Hansard. UK Parliament. 25 June 2014 : Column 351. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  5. Manzoor, Sarfraz (20 January 2010). "How Asian women made trade union history and shattered stereotypes". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  6. Assinder, Nick (22 March 2006). "Labour moves to close funding row". BBC News. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  7. "Knives out for Labour's 'golden couple' Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey". London: Mail Online. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  8. "Brown hangs Harman out to dry as three top ministers face questions over sleaze scandal". London: Mail Online. 28 November 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  9. "Harman did solicit donation". Channel 4 News. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  10. "Dromey facing treasurer challenge". BBC News. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  11. "Harriet Harman's Husband Jack Dromey Challenged For Labour Treasurer". Sky News. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  12. "Election '97: Dromey off safe seat shortlist". London: The Independent. 3 April 1997. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  13. 1 2 Union gift sparks 'cash for seats' row, The Sunday Times, 27 September 2009
  14. Peter Watt (10 January 2010). "Peter, we've spent 10 years working with Gordon and we don't like him. The more the public get to know, the less they will like him too". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  15. Hennessy, Patrick (15 August 2009). "Harriet Harman's husband, Jack Dromey, lined up for safe Labour seat". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  16. "Activists concerned about possible selection of Harriet Harman's husband". East London and West Essex Guardian. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  17. Gilligan, Andrew (12 November 2009). "'Plot' to give Harriet Harman's husband a safe seat". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  18. Eden, Richard (23 January 2010). "Harriet Harman's husband Jack Dromey may benefit from feminist retreat". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  19. "Labour candidate speaks on selection". East London and West Essex Guardian. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  20. "Harriet Harman's husband Jack Dromey to stand in next election". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  21. http://www.birminghampost.net/news/politics-news/2011/11/09/birmingham-mp-jack-dromey-accused-of-not-declaring-union-salary-65233-29743248/
  22. Profile: Harriet Harman, Times Online, 22 February 2009
  23. Dromey biodata at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 July 2007)
  24. Beckford, Martin (9 March 2009). "Harriet Harman under attack over bid to water down child pornography law". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  25. Sapsted, David (21 September 2007). "Harriet Harman avoids court over speeding". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  26. "Father's rooftop protest goes on". BBC News. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
Party websites
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Siôn Simon
Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Erdington
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Tony Woodley
Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
Newly created
Deputy General Secretary of Unite
Served alongside: Graham Goddard (20072009)
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jimmy Elsby
Treasurer of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Diana Holland
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