'The most decent, hardworking, caring man': Alison Mackenzie on death of Jack Dromey MP

Jack Dromey Credit: ITV News

Alison Mackenzie reflects on her memories of Jack Dromey, the Labour MP for Erdington, whose death was announced today at the age of 73.

It was such a shock to hear the news of Jack Dromey's passing this afternoon. 

Put simply he was the most decent, hardworking, caring man who always put other people first. 

I had a special connection with Jack because he became the MP for Birmingham Erdington at the same time that I took over as Political Correspondent for ITV News Central.

We were both starting out in a new direction and I learned very quickly that he would always be there to help in whatever news story I was chasing.

In all these years he has never once failed to answer my phone calls or emails, even when there might have been a negative twist for Labour in a particular item. Fair, balanced, coverage was what he engaged in and championed.

Some of Jack's kindest words were saved for so called 'rival' Conservative politicians.

Often lined up against him on my monthly political show Central Lobby were Anna Soubry - the former Broxtowe MP and Heather Wheeler, the MP for South Derbyshire. He respected both highly - and delighted in the cut and thrust of political debate - as ever the concerns of people in the Midlands were uppermost. 

Jack understood the fast turnaround demands of television news. He was always keen to provide interviewees from his constituency.

He took a particular joy in encouraging youngsters from deprived backgrounds to take part in news events at Westminster. 

I remember very powerfully how Jack would always take time to make people feel included. We once had a nervous colleague on work experience with us at Westminster, preparing for the Central Lobby programme recording. He happened to be the only wheelchair user in the building. Jack was the first to greet him, include him, and put him at his ease in the high pressured environment.

Jack Dromey's passing is such a huge loss, but knowing him I believe tonight he would want us to smile and to look ahead to a positive 2022.