Tributes pour in for former shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey

Tributes pour in for former shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey
Jack Dromey, former shadows pensions minister

Former shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, has died at the age of 73.

Dromey’s family confirmed on Friday (January 7) that he had passed away suddenly. He was elected as a Labour MP in 2010, and served as shadow pensions minister from January 2018 until January 2021.

Dromey was replaced by Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East, in Labour’s January reshuffle, subsequently joining the party’s Cabinet Office team.

Dromey vowed upon taking up his role as shadow pensions minister to support workers “robbed of their pensions by greedy bosses”.

In 2018, he urged the government to leverage contracts it had awarded to Hewlett Packard Enterprise to persuade the company to protect pensioners who were seeing inflation eat into their benefits.

While Dromey was praised over the weekend by many as a dogged defender of workers’ rights, he is also remembered for his willingness to co-operate with the government on a number of pension matters.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman took to Twitter to express how Dromey “exemplified cross-party working” in the House of Commons.

“We would meet and talk policy and plans every few weeks,” Opperman wrote. “We did not agree on everything, but always disagreed as friends. He was utterly crucial in getting the pension schemes bill and other legislation through parliament.”

The former shadow minister supported Opperman’s efforts in driving forward the pensions dashboards initiative, and also offered his support for collective defined contribution schemes.

“My wife often comments that I text him way too much,” the minister quipped to parliament during a debate on the pension schemes bill in 2020, in which he cited Dromey’s support for CDC legislation.

Former pensions minister Steve Webb echoed Opperman’s praise for Dromey’s willingness to work with other parties, crediting the former shadow minister for having played “a key role in building the cross-party consensus” for CDC.

“In opposition, it is always easy simply to oppose whatever the government does, and it can take political courage to agree with the government,” the now LCP partner said.

“But in this case, Jack Dromey’s willingness to put aside ‘tribal’ differences meant that positive pension reform could move ahead, and he deserves much credit for his role in this process.”

Current shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth wrote on Twitter: "I’m in absolute shock and utterly devastated at the news my friend Jack Dromey has died. 

"Some of the most important advances for workers rights whether in pensions, paid leave, gang-masters, the ‘Warwick’ agreements came about because of Jack’s tenacity & commitment."

Shadow pensions minister Matt Rodda echoed these thoughts: "Jack Dromey was a kind and warm colleague of mine. He was generous with his time when I took over from him as Shadow Pensions Minister, and through and through he was a man of our party and our movement."