Jack Dromey

John Eugene Joseph Dromey[2] (born 29 September 1948)[3] is a British Labour Party politician and trade unionist serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Erdington since 2010, and the Shadow Paymaster General since 2021.

Jack Dromey

Dromey in 2019
Shadow Paymaster General
Assumed office
7 January 2021
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byOffice established
Shadow Minister for Pensions
In office
12 January 2018  7 January 2021
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Keir Starmer
Preceded byAlex Cunningham
Succeeded byMatt Rodda
Shadow Minister for Labour
In office
10 October 2016  12 January 2018
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byLaura Pidcock
Shadow Minister for Policing
In office
7 October 2013  27 June 2016
LeaderEd Miliband
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byDavid Hanson
Succeeded byLyn Brown
Shadow Minister for Housing
In office
7 October 2010  7 October 2013
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded byLyn Brown
Succeeded byAndy Sawford
Treasurer of the Labour Party
In office
30 September 2004  26 September 2010
LeaderTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded byJimmy Elsby
Succeeded byDiana Holland
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Erdington
Assumed office
6 May 2010[1]
Preceded bySiôn Simon
Majority3,601 (10.2%)
Personal details
John Eugene Joseph Dromey

(1948-09-29) 29 September 1948 (age 72)
Brent, England
Political partyLabour
(m. 1982)

Dromey joined the Labour frontbench under leader Ed Miliband as the Shadow Minister for Housing from 2010 until 2013, when he became the Shadow Minister for Policing. He remained in post after Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader until his resignation in June 2016, but returned to the frontbench as Shadow Minister for Labour in October 2016.[4] He was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Pensions in 2018, and continued to serve in the role under Keir Starmer until 2021.

Prior to his election to Parliament, he was the Deputy General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and the Treasurer of the Labour Party.[5] Dromey is married to Harriet Harman, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and cabinet minister.

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, which was a grammar school at the time.[6][7]

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,[8] 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.

Jack Dromey attended the 1976 "Luanda Trial", aka "Mercenaries' Trial", in Luanda, Angola, as an "observer".[9]

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.[10]

Dromey was appointed 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.


Links between NCCL and PIE

Dromey worked for executive committee of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL; now Liberty) in the 1970s during a period when it was allied to the Paedophile Information Exchange. Dromey denied supporting PIE or its aims, stating that he in fact actively opposed the links between the two groups.[11][12]

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 that he had only become aware of them 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.[13]

Labour Party donations scandal

Dromey was caught up in a further financial scandal 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.[citation needed] Harriet Harman, Dromey's wife, was also caught up in the affair, as her staff had solicited and accepted illegal donations totalling £5,000.[14]

As a result of this incident, Mark McDonald challenged Dromey for the position at re-election, arguing that more transparency was needed: he was unsuccessful in his challenge.[15][16]

Parliamentary career

Dromey (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.[17]

Dromey again sought a safe seat in 2007, when there were plans for a general election to be called. Peter Watt, the then Labour General Secretary, later revealed that the trade union Unite had given £1 million in donations on the assumption of the nomination for the safe seat of Wolverhampton North East being given to Dromey.[18]

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.[19] The chair of Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party said he would be "somewhat aggrieved" were Dromey selected[20] and Dromey's wife Harriet Harman had campaigned for all-women shortlists in safe seats.[18] 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.[21] It was revealed in January 2010 that the seat would not be subject to an all-woman shortlist,[22] but the Constituency Labour Party subsequently selected former Hornchurch MP John Cryer as its candidate on 27 February.[23]

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 have an open shortlist. Dromey was confirmed to have made that shortlist. On 27 February 2010, it was confirmed that Dromey had been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Birmingham Erdington.[24] He was elected on 6 May 2010.[5]

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."[25] Dromey apologised to the House of Commons on 19 January 2012, in relation to this mistake.

He supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[26]

Dromey retained his seat in the 2019 general election, but his majority decreased to 10%.

In January 2021, Dromey moved to the Shadow Cabinet Office team, led by Rachel Reeves, as Shadow Paymaster General.[27][28]

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.[29] Their son Joe Dromey is a councillor in the London borough of Lewisham.[30]

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,[31] a pressure group for which Harman worked as legal officer.[32]

They have a house in Suffolk,[33] in addition to a home in Herne Hill, south London.[34]

Select committees


  1. "Contact information for Jack Dromey - MPS and Lords - UK Parliament".
  2. "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11778.
  3. "Biography for Jack Dromey". Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  4. Walker, Jonathan (10 October 2016). "MP explains why he's back on Jeremy Corbyn's team after calling for his resignation". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  5. General Election 2010 Archived 24 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine Birmingham City Council
  6. "Jack Dromey MP supports All Schools initiative". Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  7. "Dromey, Jack, (born 29 Sept. 1948), MP (Lab) Birmingham Erdington, since 2010". Who's Who & Who Was Who. 2010. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U251536. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  8. Jack Dromey (25 June 2014). "Private Rented Sector". Hansard. UK Parliament. 25 June 2014 : Column 351. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  9. "haldane society NOTES". Bulletin (Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers) (9): 1–3. 1978. ISSN 2517-7281. JSTOR 44749726.
  10. Manzoor, Sarfraz (20 January 2010). "How Asian women made trade union history and shattered stereotypes". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  11. "MP Jack Dromey denies paedophile group 'smear'". BBC. 26 February 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  12. "How paedophiles infiltrated the left and hijacked the fight for civil rights". The Guardian. 2 March 2014. Archived from the original on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  13. Assinder, Nick (22 March 2006). "Labour moves to close funding row". BBC News. Archived from the original on 19 December 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  14. "Harman did solicit donation". Channel 4 News. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  15. "Dromey facing treasurer challenge". BBC News. 5 February 2008. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  16. "Harriet Harman's Husband Jack Dromey Challenged For Labour Treasurer". Sky News. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  17. "Election '97: Dromey off safe seat shortlist". The Independent. London. 3 April 1997. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  18. Union gift sparks 'cash for seats' row Archived 29 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Sunday Times, 27 September 2009
  19. Hennessy, Patrick (15 August 2009). "Harriet Harman's husband, Jack Dromey, lined up for safe Labour seat". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  20. "Activists concerned about possible selection of Harriet Harman's husband". East London and West Essex Guardian. 12 November 2009. Archived from the original on 15 November 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  21. Gilligan, Andrew (12 November 2009). "'Plot' to give Harriet Harman's husband a safe seat". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 16 November 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  22. Eden, Richard (23 January 2010). "Harriet Harman's husband Jack Dromey may benefit from feminist retreat". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  23. "Labour candidate speaks on selection". East London and West Essex Guardian. 28 February 2010. Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
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  25. "Politics". Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  26. "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  27. Rodgers, Sienna (7 January 2021). "New roles for Dromey, Anderson, Rodda and Tarry in Labour reshuffle". LabourList. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  28. Rodgers, Sienna. "Reshuffle: Keir Starmer's new Labour frontbench in full". LabourList. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  29. Profile: Harriet Harman, Times Online, 22 February 2009
  30. "Joe Dromey". Lewisham Council. 14 September 2019. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
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  32. Beckford, Martin (9 March 2009). "Harriet Harman under attack over bid to water down child pornography law". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  33. Sapsted, David (21 September 2007). "Harriet Harman avoids court over speeding". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  34. "Father's rooftop protest goes on". BBC News. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.