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Chamber POTY: Jack Dromey (sort of), by Kevin Johnson

Chamber POTY: Jack Dromey (sort of), by Kevin Johnson

🕔19.Dec 2012

The city’s MPs are not often lauded for their contribution to the Birmingham brand and our economic progress. Ask Sid and Doris on Broad Street or even Colmore Row and they will struggle to name any of the city’s representatives in Parliament. The MPs have never operated successfully as a group to lobby on behalf of city/city region and seem to have no more than a fleeting involvement in the issues that go beyond their direct constituency interests.

That is changing, slowly. Elsewhere on the Files, there will be POTY posts on Tom Watson (West Bromwich East, Lab) and Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield, Con) who have had quite a year. For the former Chief Whip, it’s not over yet…..

Gisela Stuart (Edgbaston, Lab) and Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill, Lab) put their hats in the Mayoral ring, only for the public to say they weren’t bothered by the whole idea. Stuart, who lost her husband Derek Scott during the year, needs to focus on her Edgbaston constituency – the scene of one of the greatest single campaign triumphs of 2010 – as well as interests such as HS2 and Europe. I’m not aware that she has put in an EBay bid for the BiNS website.

Jonny-come-lately Byrne’s influence did not end with the Mayoral referendum as he continues to a have a big role in shaping Sir Albert Bore’s policy agenda. Also a major influence on the Council Leader is Jack Dromey (Erdington, Lab), one time union baron, now shadow housing minister and ‘Mr Harriet Harman’, who is making greater strides in bringing together Brum’s MPs than anyone before.

Steve McCabe (Selly Oak, Lab) is enjoying telling ministers how it is from the backbenches again after heart surgery earlier in the year and is a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Richard Burden (Northfield, Lab) is an impressive constituency MP with special interests ranging from the motor industry to Palestine. Shabana Mahmood (Ladywood, Lab) is attracting interest as a junior shadow minister for Higher Education from Clare Short’s old seat.

Khalid Mahmood (Perry Barr, Lab) retains a power base that extends beyond his patch, whilst who can ignore John Hemming (Yardley, Lib Dem) a ferocious campaigner who maintains a strong influence over the wider party in Brum? Alongside Hemming at the head of the anti-Mayor camp was Roger Godsiff (Hall Green, Lab).

Beyond Brum’s border, Lorely Burt (Solihull, Lib Dem), PPS to Danny Alexander and chair of the Parliamentary Party is worth mentioning, working a seat that should be under threat in 2015 but could see her do a ‘Gisela’. Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) has been doing a commendable job as chair of the Business Select Committee. James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis, Con) is marked out for great things. Ian Austin (Dudley North, Lab), the former Gordon Brown adviser and minister for the West Midlands, set up an All Party Parliamentary Group on the West Midlands economy with Burt and Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest, Con).

Finally, who could forget the contribution of Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase, Con) to cultural commentary?

It would be stretching credibility to campaign for Jack Dromey or any of our MPs as the 2012 POTY, but in twelve months we might just be able to put up a few for their work for Greater Birmingham in Parliament.

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