Memorial held for Tory MP James Brokenshire who died from lung cancer
Memorial service is held for Tory MP James Brokenshire after his death from cancer last year aged 53: Boris Johnson and Priti Patel join ex minister’s family and friends paying tribute at Westminster Abbey
- James Brokenshire’s family joined several top politicians at Westminster Cathedral for MP’s memorial service
- Tory MP died last October following four-year battle with lung cancer leaving behind wife and three children
- Dame Eleanor Laing, Theresa May and Peter Cardwell each did a reading to celebrate late MP’s life and work
- Senior figures including Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Liz Truss, and Sajid Javid all attended today’s service
Boris Johnson has joined former PMs and politicians at Westminster Cathedral today for a memorial service to celebrate the life of Tory MP James Brokenshire who tragically died last year following a four-year battle with lung cancer.
Today, the PM was joined by senior figures including Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Liz Truss, and Sajid Javid for Mr Brokenshire’s remembrance service held at St Margaret’s Church in London.
Dame Eleanor Laing, the Conservative MP for Epping forest, former Prime Minister, Theresa May and Mr Brokenshire’s former special advisor, Peter Cardwell, each did a reading to celebrate the late minister’s life and work – whilst others took to Twitter to pay their respects.
Caroline Nokes, Tory MP for Romsey and Southampton North, tweeted: ‘Such a lovely tribute to my colleague James Brokenshire today with his memorial service at St Margaret’s Westminster – he is much missed.’
Irish minister Charles Flanagan said: ‘Pleased to attend Westminster Service of Thanksgiving for the life & work of former Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire.
‘A man of integrity and decency, dedicated to public service and the challenging work of peace and reconciliation. May he rest in everlasting peace.’
Nick Thomas -Symonds, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Welsh Labour, also wrote a touching tribute about the ‘kind’ MP who was ‘well respected across Parliament’ and said his thoughts were with Mr Brokenshire’s wife Cathy and three children, Sophie, Jemma, and Ben.
He said: ‘Such a moving service remembering James Brokenshire today. The eulogies captured James’ remarkable life of public service but also his dry humour and kindness that led to him being liked and respected across Parliament. My thoughts are with Cathy, Sophie, Jemma and Ben.’
Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer did not attend the memorial after the Labour leader made an extraordinary vow to resign if he is fined by police over Beergate this afternoon.
Mr Brokenshire – who was a Conservative minister for housing, security and Northern Ireland under David Cameron and Theresa May until he was sacked by Mr Johnson in 2019 – passed away aged 53 on October 7 at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, close to his Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency.
Boris Johnson (pictured) has joined former PMs and politicians at Westminster Cathedral today for a memorial service to celebrate the life of Tory MP James Brokenshire who tragically died last year following a four-year battle with lung cancer
Today, Mr Brokenshire’s wife Cathy and three children, Sophie, Jemma, and Ben, were joined by the PM, family, friends and senior figures including Priti Patel (pictured)
The Secretary of State Sajid Javid attended the remembrance service for James Brokenshire at St Margaret’s church today
The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was pictured leaving the memorial at Westminster Cathedral with other senior ministers
Mr Brokenshire – who was a Conservative minister for housing, security and Northern Ireland under David Cameron and Theresa May until he was sacked by Mr Johnson in 2019 – passed away age 53 on October 7 at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, close to his Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency. Pictured: The Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg
Pictured: Lord Barwell (left) and the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark (right), leave St Margaret’s church
Dr Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, also attended this afternoon’s memorial service
Yvette Cooper (left), Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, and Holly Lynch (right), the Labour MP for Halifax, were attended the memorial at St Margaret’s church, Westminster
Mr Brokenshire, the Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, who previously served as Northern Ireland secretary and security minister, announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 and had surgery to remove the upper lobe of his right lung.
At the time, non-smoker Mr Brokenshire said he had been prompted to see his GP after coughing up a small amount of blood.
He became vocal in calling for national screening for lung cancer, and in April 2018 used a debate in Parliament to call for a national programme to improve poor survival rates.
Mr Brokenshire said much stigma surrounds lung cancer, with many people incorrectly believing it is only caused by smoking.
In August last year he posted a heartbreaking tweet saying his ‘cancer had progressed’, along with a photo of him with his wife Cathy.
Mr Brokenshire, the Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, previously served as Northern Ireland secretary and security minister
Pictured: Robert Buckland (middle), the Conservative MP for South Swindon, attended the remembrance ceremony
Chris Grayling (pictured), Conservative MP for for Epsom and Ewell, leaves St Margaret’s church in Westminster after a thanksgiving church service for James Brokenshire earlier today
Alok Sharma, President for COP26 and Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, was pictured leaving St Margaret’s church in Westminster this afternoon
The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP stood down as security minister last July to focus on his health after a recurrence of his illness.
But in a statement his family announced that he had died in hospital with his family by his side after a sudden deterioration in his condition last October.
In a statement, James Brokenshire’s family said: ‘James died peacefully at Darent Valley Hospital 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.
In his last tweet on August 31, Mr Brokenshire shared a picture of himself on a walk with his ‘amazing’ wife Cathy, and said that his lung cancer had ‘progressed’. He died in October 2021
Mr Brokenshire, pictured with wife Cathy, stepped down as Northern Ireland secretary in January 2018 on his 50th birthday, after his cancer diagnosis
‘But most importantly, he was a loving father to his three children, a devoted husband to Cathy and a faithful friend to so many.
‘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.
‘We would also ask that our privacy as a family is respected at this time.’
Mr Brokenshire’s funeral was attended on October 21 by senior politicians, family and friends in Bexley and around St John the Evangelist Church.
Fellow Tory MP Sir David Amess – who was killed during a constituency surgery in Essex just a week after his colleague’s death – and his family were also remembered during prayers in the packed church.
Mr Brokenshire was described by Reverend Scott Lamb as ‘unassuming’ and the ‘most decent of men’.
Ex-PM Theresa May, in whose government Mr Brokenshire held two Cabinet roles, gave a Bible reading from Mark’s Gospel and, referring to the passage, Rev Lamb said Mr Brokenshire also ‘came not to be served but to serve’.
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