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Monday, October 18, 2021

Former UK minister James Brokenshire dies of cancer

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LONDON — Former U.K. minister and Conservative MP James Brokenshire has died after a long fight against lung cancer.

The death of Brokenshire, who represented the English constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup since 2010, was announced by his family in a statement Friday. He was 53.

“Most importantly, he was a loving father to his three children, a devoted husband to Cathy and a faithful friend to so many,” the family said.

“We would like to thank all the NHS staff, particularly those at Guy’s & St Thomas’ in London, who cared for James with such warmth, diligence and professionalism over the past three-and-a-half years,” they added.

His last government role was security minister at the Home Office between February 2020 and earlier this year, when the disease forced him to take a leave of absence from his ministerial post in preparation for a pneumonectomy. In August, Brokenshire announced his cancer had progressed and was starting a new line of treatment.

During Theresa May’s premiership, he worked as housing, communities and local government secretary, and prior to that role as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

Messages of support for his family poured in from across government, the opposition and the media.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Brokenshire “the nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians but also extraordinarily effective,” and said he was “desperately sad” to hear the news.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer issued his condolences, describing Brokenshire as 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,” he tweeted.

Westminster journalists praised his great sense of humor and his friendly character.

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