Lindsay Hoyle – 2022 Tribute to Jack Dromey

The tribute made by Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, in the House on 2 February 2022.

We now come to tributes to Jack Dromey.

Jack made his mark long before he came into this House, in particular as a fearless, energetic trade unionist. I remember campaigning him with him in the ’80s and ’90s to save the Royal Ordnance factory in Chorley. He was positive, down to earth, and determined to help working people—characteristics that remained with him throughout his career. I have to say, as somebody who knew Jack and worked with Jack: he was innovative; he was absolutely visionary. We sat down, upon a closure where thousands of jobs were going to go, and Jack said, “We’re in this together; we will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people whose jobs are at risk.” He said, “We’ve got to look beyond what kills people. We can do something different. Let us look for alternatives that save people’s lives.”

The expertise that was in Royal Ordnance Chorley was second to none. Of course we had to fight for the jobs in the first place. It became a choice between Glascoed and Chorley, and Jack said, “With the land values we know where British Aerospace will be.” In the end we came up with real alternatives. We had seen Lockerbie. We had seen the destruction and the loss of life, and in Chorley they designed a cargo that stopped the plane coming down. That was the vision of Jack, who said, “If we can’t save the jobs in making bombs, let us save jobs by finding an alternative to save lives.” So that is my personal experience of Jack Dromey. I knew him on other occasions, but I have to say: he was inspirational to me and he has been inspirational to many others in this House.

Since his election to this House in 2010, he proved to be an exemplary Member of Parliament. He was an assiduous and effective campaigner for his constituents. As a Front Bencher, he was trusted to lead for the party in particularly sensitive areas such as housing, policing, pensions, and, most recently, immigration. While he was a robust Front Bencher, he always demonstrated respect for his opponents and was well like and admired across the House. Nobody could fall out with Jack Dromey.

While we mourn a colleague, it is Jack’s family who will of course feel the loss most deeply. I know the whole House will join me in expressing our condolences to the Mother of the House, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman). Harriet, I know that all Members of this House will join me in saying to you and your family that we are so sorry for your loss, and it is a sad loss for this House.

I will now take brief points of order to allow for tributes to an esteemed colleague.