Labour MP Jack Dromey dies aged 73
The father-of-three, a lifelong trade unionist who represented the seat of Birmingham Erdington since 2010, was discovered at his constituency home by police on Friday afternoon. He is believed to have died suddenly from natural causes, and his death is not being treated as suspicious.
Ms Harman, who briefly served as Labour leader and is the longest-serving female MP, had recently announced her intention to leave Parliament. The pair had been due to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary later this year.
A by-election will be held in Birmingham Erdington, but it is not yet known who will replace Mr Dromey.
Parliament flags fly at half mast
Joe Dromey, the couple's son, served as a Labour councillor in Lewisham, south London, for seven years. He wrote on Friday night: "We loved him so, so much." His sister, Amy Harman, wrote: "RIP to my truly wonderful dad Jack Dromey. How much we will all miss him."
A family statement said Mr Dromey was a "much-loved husband, father and grandfather, and he will be greatly missed."
Flags in Parliament's New Palace Yard were lowered to half mast in recognition of his death, while the former Labour prime ministers Sir Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were among those who paid tribute.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said officers had forced entry to Mr Dromey's flat in north east Birmingham shortly after 1.30pm on Friday following a 999 call to request a welfare check.
Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament Labour MP Jack Dromey dead aged 73 - Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament
A friend told The Telegraph the MP had struggled with his health since contracting Covid, saying: "He did suffer from Covid early on and he became very weak of late. He was not quite himself since he caught it."
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, and Mr Dromey's party colleagues paid tribute to his work as a trade unionist, as well as to his "boundless energy".
Commitment to social justice
"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," Sir Keir said.
"Jack was recognised for his determination to stand up for his constituents and he was highly respected and warmly regarded across Parliament. My thoughts and those of the whole Labour movement are with Harriet, their children and all those who knew and loved Jack."
Friends said they were stunned to hear of Mr Dromey's death after seeing him well at work and speaking in a parliamentary debate on the resettlement of Afghan refugees on Thursday.
Steve McCabe, a Labour MP in the neighbouring constituency of Selly Oak, said: "I saw him on Tuesday at the event in Birmingham with Keir Starmer, and he seemed fine. We were laughing and joking. We were talking about what was coming up in the year.
"He was one of these people that just seemed to have boundless energy. He gave the impression he would go on for ever."
Sir Tony and Mr Brown released statements paying tribute to a "great humanitarian" and "complete stalwart of the Labour and trade union movement".
Boris Johnson said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death, adding: "My thoughts are with Harriet and the family, and all those who knew him as a friend", while Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, described Mr Dromey as a "life force" and mourned "another sad day for the House and a bad start to the year".
Reference: The Telegraph: Tony Diver, Danielle Sheridan
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