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Prime Minister Boris Johnson pays tribute to James Brokenshire after death of former Northern Ireland Secretary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed James Brokenshire as the ‘nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians’ after the former Northern Ireland Secretary died aged 53.

The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 and died at Darent Valley Hospital in Kent on Thursday (October 7).

Brokenshire had been admitted to hospital on Sunday after his lung condition worsened.

Tributes across the political landscape have poured in for Brokenshire, who returned to politics in February last year as Home Office minister before stepping away in July.

PM Johnson tweeted: “Desperately sad to hear the news about James Brokenshire.

“James was the nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians but also extraordinarily effective.

He added: “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.”

Brokenshire was a non-smoker who worked to promote lung cancer awareness three years after receiving his diagnosis.

A married father of three, Brokenshire was first elected as MP in 2005 for former constituency Hornchurch and also worked as former Northern Ireland secretary during his distinguished career. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer joined Johnson in paying a tribute on Friday morning.

“James Brokenshire was a thoroughly decent man, dedicated and effective in all briefs he held,” Starmer said.

“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.”

Brokenshire’s condition deteriorated rapidly after his hospital admission on Sunday and a family statement confirmed he died peacefully with family members by his side.

The statement 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 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.”

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