Former Hornchurch MP James Brokenshire passes away following cancer battle
- Credit: PA
Former Hornchurch MP James Brokenshire has passed away at the age of 53 following a battle with lung cancer.
First elected to the Commons in 2005, Mr Brokenshire was MP for Hornchurch until his constituency was abolished following boundary changes.
A statement published by his family said the former security minister died "peacefully" at Darant Valley Hospital yesterday evening (October 7).
The MP - who served Hornchurch between 2005 and 2010 before moving to Old Bexley for the last 11 years - was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018.
He was discharged from Guy’s Hospital in London in February this year after a “frustrating resurgence” of the disease required the removal of his right lung.
Mr Brokenshire stepped down from his most recent position as security minister in July, telling prime minister Boris Johnson at the time that recovery is “taking longer than anticipated”.
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The following month he announced his cancer had "progressed" and he would be beginning a new line of treatment.
The family statement says: "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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"We would like to thank all the NHS staff, particularly those at Guy's and St Thomas' in London, who cared for James with such warmth, diligence and professionalism over the last three and a half years."
Alongside his constituency work, Mr Brokenshire served as secretary of state for Northern Ireland and for the ministry for housing, communities and local government.
Prime minister Boris Johnson wrote: "Desperately sad to hear the news about James Brokenshire.
"James was the nicest, kindest and most unassuming of politicians but also extraordinarily effective."
Councillor Bob Perry (Independent, Emerson Park) described the former Hornchurch MP as a "lovely guy".
He tells the story of when he last saw Mr Brokenshire in 2017: "He was the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and had this big security team. He came out of this side room with this security team.
"I walked up to him and put my hand out to shake his hand and say hello, and his security team jumped in front of him and yelled "Stop!". He had to step in and tell them it was okay."