LABOUR MP Jack Dromey has vowed to keep Irish issues high on the agenda at Westminster as his party prepares to rebuild itself before the next general election.
“No one expected the result [on May 7], least of all the Tories, but sadly, ultimately, it was clear that we were not trusted with the economy, and the impact of Scotland, south of the order as well as north of the border, was very significant,” he told The Irish Post in an exclusive interview this week.
“In addition the Tories fought a very dirty, personalised campaign, which to be frank does not reflect well on them or politics more generally,” he added, “but we are looking ahead now.”
“I am a veteran of the rebuilding process from 1983,” he explained, “it was said then that Labour could not recover but we did and ultimately we won three consecutive terms of office for the first time in our history. We will recover once again.”
The MP for Birmingham Erdington, whose wife Harriet Harman is currently the acting leader of the Labour Party, claims a strong Irish backing helped him retain his constituency in the general election.
“I am proud of the overwhelming support that I had from the Irish of Erdington, and am glad to see the Irish presence in the House of Commons strengthened through that election - although the loss of Chris Ruane was a bitter blow,” he admits.
“For me now, I am bouncing back. I am standing up for Erdington and for Birmingham, although it will be tough at the next stages, not least because the budget will see yet bigger cuts to the city’s finances.”
The politician, a former trade unionist who was born in Kilburn to Irish parents from counties Cork and Tipperary, has also promised to represent the Irish across Britain in Westminster.
“Our task, in tough times, is not to wring our hands but to look forward, not backwards, standing up for those that we represent,” he said.
“In that I will be a champion of the cause of Ireland and Irish people in parliament, and in Birmingham, and I will ensure that the voice of the Irish is always heard and listened to by the Tories.”
He added: “The Irish community is overwhelmingly Labour, but if David Cameron’s ‘One Nation’ slogan means anything then it should be the Irish at the heart of that nation."
Regarding Labour's efforts to rebuild, amidst an impending leadership battle, Mr Dromey claimed: "Ultimately Labour in parliament, to its great credit, is not sunk in despair. On the contrary there is a strong determination to stand up for all that is best in our country as Britain is not a conservative Britain.”