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Tributes paid to MP and ‘proud Irishman’ Jack Dromey after death aged 73.

House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle has led tributes to the Labour MP and trade unionist Jack Dromey, who died suddenly at his home in Birmingham on Friday morning aged 73. Mr Lindsay said the death of Mr Dromey, who was married to fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman, was a sad day and a bad start to the year.

“I have known Jack since the mid-1980s when we fought to save the Royal Ordnance Factory in Chorley – he was national officer for the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&GWU), and I was chair of economic development at Chorley Council, ” he said.

“He was a great guy, down to earth, always positive and always looking to support and save jobs.”

Mr Dromey won the seat of Birmingham Erdington in 2010 after a long career in the trade union movement, holding various positions in the T&GWU, which later became Unite. Born in Kilburn to Irish parents, Mr Dromey was a major supporter of the GAA in Britain and he spoke often about his Irish heritage.

“Born in County Kilburn, I am the proud son of an Irish navvy from Cork and a nurse from Tipperary who met in the Galtymore dance hall in Cricklewood Broadway,” he said after meeting Ireland’s ambassador to London Adrian O’Neill in 2019.

Mr O’Neill was among those who paid tribute to Mr Dromey on Friday, describing him as “a great friend of Ireland in parliament”, a sentiment that was echoed by Co Armagh-born Labour MP Conor McGinn.

“Jack was a very proud Irishman, a highly respected colleague and a much-loved friend. Whether it was the practicalities of supporting the GAA in Birmingham or the high politics of British-Irish relations, Jack was one of us and always ready to help,” Mr McGinn told The Irish Times.

Mr Dromey served as Labour Party treasurer under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown before becoming an MP and he was a member of the front bench under Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer. He was shadow pensions minister under both Mr Corbyn and Mr Starmer and became shadow paymaster general last year.

“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,” Mr Starmer said.

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