Labour’s Harriet Harman has spoken openly about the grief at the loss of her husband and has reiterated her calls for the next party leader to be a woman.
The longtime MP was left heartbroken. Jack Dromey – the colleague she was married to for almost 40 years – died suddenly six months ago.
Speaking exclusively to GB News, the 71-year-old MP from Camberwell and Peckham said the loss of her spouse came “out of the blue” and she was dealing with a “real conundrum” about how she could “move forward” preparing herself prepared to resign at the next election.
“I believe that widowhood is something that happens to most women who have married or have a partner, widowhood happens to them,” she said on Forward In Your Life?
“My mother lived until she was 100 and I have maybe 30 more years. So I can’t say, ‘Well, because Jack died, my life is over.’
“And we’ve always argued that you can’t define yourself solely by the man you’re with. But it’s a big shift when you’ve more or less evolved with someone and your whole life is intertwined, and then all of a sudden they’re not there.”
In 1982 she married Mr Dromey, a former TGWU Deputy General Secretary and MP for Birmingham Erdington, who died unexpectedly of heart failure in January.
“I have kids, I have grandkids, I have my constituents, so in a way I have no choice but what they describe as ‘Crack On,'” she said.
“I’d love to move on…I know Jack would expect that from me.
“I have many blessings in my life, so I need to count them.”
The MP, who has twice stood as Labor leader, said it was “embarrassing” that the party had not elected a female leader in its 122-year history.
She said: “If we have a leadership election in the distant future, next time it has to be a woman because it’s just embarrassing that the Conservatives have had two and we haven’t even had a woman opposition leader, let alone a prime minister .
“I think that’s partly because women in the Labor Party are more subversive than women in the Conservative Party. The women in the Conservative Party tend to work with men without challenging them the way we do.”
The former cabinet minister also called on the party to run all-female shortlists for selecting MP candidates, saying they are “incredibly important” to ensure gender equality in Parliament.
She said: “They not only changed the face of Parliament, the Labor Party and the political agenda, they also sparked a change in the Conservative Party because they looked terribly old-fashioned when their benches were all men in gray suits.
“And the argument is that legally we can’t do it anymore because we’re at 50%. It’s about eliminating inequality, and you can’t do it once you’ve achieved that equality. But actually we could still do it and I think we should do it.
“Not least, for example, in one region, the south-east region outside London, where only two of our eight MPs are women. So there’s at least an argument for doing it there. And I think you have to be careful because you can always slip back.”
Ms Harman also told GB News why, despite her high profile, she never ran for Labor Party leader.
Manchester evening news)
“It just sounds so pathetic but I felt like I had the confidence within the party, but I’ve had such a blow in my political journey that I just didn’t feel like I could take the Labor Party from this transition from the opposition could take into government,” she said.
“Partly because I’ve always challenged, challenged the press, challenged everyone and challenged progress, and that doesn’t make you very ‘leaderable’ but more of an outsider and a challenger.
“There was an absolute crush on guys who were going for it and I was just like, ‘well, he could be, or he could be,’ and I kind of weeded out the people who were like, ‘You should do it ‘.”
Ms Harman was also asked why she thought Labor had not won a general election since Tony Blair led the party.
She said: “I think the lessons we can learn from this are where we actually went right, which is 1997, and then in those subsequent elections when we came to terms with the need to listen to voters.” tell you, and that you can’t tell them they’re wrong.
“There used to be a joke on the left: ‘No compromises with the electorate’.
“Well, if you don’t compromise with voters and listen to what they say, they don’t vote for you.”
She added: “It’s about listening to what people want and taking that into account. You still have your Labor principles, your Labor values, but you have to put those principles and values in the context of people’s lives.
“And that really was the genius of New Labour. I mean, it sounds pretty simple, but it was a big shift, so instead of waiting for the public to “wake up” because they were just so wrong and stupid enough to keep voting Conservative, we thought, “Hmmm, maybe.” is the problem is with us and maybe we need to change’.
Despite the shock of grief, Ms Harman said she feels energized by what lies ahead in life.
“What I find quite stimulating is the theme of the ‘feminist journey’ into aging,” she said. “Because there’s one thing, when you’re younger in politics, you’re kind of ‘too pretty,’ ‘distractingly attractive,’ ‘too young.’
“Then when you’re a little bit older and you’re having your kids, it’s ‘too many kids,’ ‘hands full,’ ‘just can’t hack it,’ ‘too busy.’ And then when you’re older you’re “past” and never seem to have your prime.
“Whereas men, when they’re younger, are ‘aspiring,’ ‘someone to watch,’ ‘dynamic.’ Then when they have many children, they are ‘reassuringly male’. And then when they They’re older and gray that’s “wisdom” something like the “George Clooney silver fox” and they seem to see their prime through to the end and we women are struggling at all times to keep ours to have flowering time.
“So now I’m firmly deciding that I’m in my prime and embracing aging, so I’m definitely going gray and thinking there’s nothing wrong with being older. In fact, because you know a lot of things and have experienced a lot of things and have a different perspective, even for a woman, old age can be a superpower and not a disability.
“Yet we should all try to look younger, try to keep our hair looking like it was when we were 30 and try to wear clothes that make you look young and like you have a reproductive outlook. The point is to have some kind of meaningful existence that doesn’t depend on all of those things. So it’s really a bit of a new frontier, with a lot of feminists of my generation who’ve reached my age, and we’re crafting the journey into feminism ‘aging’ now.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/harriet-harman-opens-up-late-27303620 Harriet Harman speaks out on late husband Jack Dromey and calls for a Labor leader