James Brokenshire: UK Minister Dead of Cancer Aged 53, Just Three Months After Leaving Government

Britain's Minister of State for Security James Brokenshire announces measures against online sexual exploitation on March 5, 2020 during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington,DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Conservative member of parliament James Brokenshire has died, just three months after he resigned his government ministerial post over his lung cancer recovery “taking longer than expected”.

Brokenshire, who was most recently Security Minister and had previously been Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and minister for housing had been a member of parliament since 2005.

A statement from his family said Mr Brokenshire “died peacefully” at hospital “with family members by his bedside”, and that his condition had rapidly deteriorated over the course of this week. He is succeeded by his wife and three children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of his colleague: “He served with particular distinction in the Home Office and as security minister. If the Government needed something done well and speedily – and sensibly explained – James was the man to do it… His fight against cancer was heroic, and it is a measure of his resolve that he came back from a first bout with the disease to serve in government again. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with Cathy and his family.”

Brokenshire also received tributes from both sides of the political divide in Ireland, where he did much of his ministerial work, and particularly at a time where power-sharing in Ulster had collapsed. Arlene Foster, a significant figure in Ulster at the time of his being Northern Ireland minister said of him that he was “one of the good guys in politics”.

While his political career was not one generally marked by political controversy, Brokenshire was at the centre of the sacking of Conservative Philosopher Sir Roger Scruton from a government commission in 2019, following the release of a selectively edited interview that sought to portray Sir Roger in a negative light. The government moved fast to remove Sir Roger from the committee, before the true facts of the case had a chance to emerge, or in the case of one person calling for Scruton’s ouster, before even having an opportunity to find out who he actually was.

Scruton was subsequently invited back onto the government commission by Brokenshire.


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