Former local government secretary Brokenshire dies aged 53

By Laura Sharman | 08 October 2021

Tributes have been paid to former local government secretary James Brokenshire after he died at the age of 53 from lung cancer.

Mr Brokenshire - who served as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government from 2018 to 2019 - was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 and was forced to step down from government earlier this year to focus on his treatment.

A statement issued today on behalf of his family read: '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 of Housing, Communities and Local Government, but a dedicated constituency MP - first for Hornchurch from 2005 to 2010 and then for Old Bexley and Sidcup for the past 11 years.

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

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the 'nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians'.

Chanceller Rishi Sunak also said he was a man of the 'highest integrity'.

Chairman of the Local Government Association, Cllr James Jamieson, said councils would remember Mr Brokenshire 'fondly,' adding: 'He stood up for the interests of councils and communities with the same integrity and passion that characterised him as a person.

'He was a thoroughly decent man, a real gentleman and showed remarkable bravery in the face of his illness.'

Chief executive officer of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, Rob Whiteman, said Mr Brokenshire was a 'man of integrity and wisdom who represented the very best of public service through political office'.

Chairman of the County Councils' Network, Cllr Tim Oliver, added: 'He was kind, thoughtful and engaging: working closely with the sector to represent our interests within government.'

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