Former UK minister James Brokenshire dies aged 53

The Conservative Party member had been an MP since 2005

James Brokenshire, U.K. communities secretary, arrives for a meeting of cabinet ministers at number 10 Downing Street in London, U.K., on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to confront her most senior ministers with the potentially explosive option to delay Brexit by months, as the U.K. struggles to find a plan for leaving the European Union. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Former Conservative minister James Brokenshire has died at the age of 53, his family have announced.

The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.

In August, Mr Brokenshire confirmed his cancer had "progressed" and he was starting a new line of treatment.

He had been a member of parliament since 2005 and held a number of ministerial positions under successive Tory governments, including Minister of State for Security and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

His family said: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of James Brokenshire MP at the age of 53.

“James died peacefully at Darent Valley Hospital yesterday evening with family members by his bedside. He had been in hospital since Sunday after his condition rapidly deteriorated.

“James was not only a brilliant Government minister as both Security and Immigration Minister at the Home Office and Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office and Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government, but a dedicated constituency MP, first for Hornchurch from 2005 to 2010, and then for Old Bexley & Sidcup for the past 11 years.

“But most importantly, he was a loving father to his three children, a devoted husband to Cathy and a faithful friend to so many."

In 2017, Mr Brokenshire publicly revealed he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and hoped his disclosure would help end stigma surrounding the disease.

He resigned as security minister in July after telling Boris Johnson that his recovery from surgery in February was taking "longer than expected".

When his cancer progressed, he said he was "keeping upbeat" over his condition but "needed space to focus on treatment".

Tributes have flooded in for Mr Brokenshire from across the political spectrum following the announcement of his death.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Desperately sad to hear the news about James Brokenshire".

He described him as the "nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians but also extraordinarily effective.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote on Twitter: "James Brokenshire was a man of public service and the highest integrity. He was a valued friend and colleague and will be deeply missed.

"My thoughts are with his family on this incredibly sad day."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: "James Brokenshire was a thoroughly decent man, dedicated and effective in all briefs he held.

"He fought his illness with dignity and bravery. I'm incredibly sad to learn of his death and send my condolences to his wife and children."

Updated: October 8th 2021, 11:42 AM
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