James Brokenshire

Part of Speaker's Statement – in the House of Commons at 1:26 pm on 20th October 2021.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Conservative, Ashford 1:26 pm, 20th October 2021

As we have heard, James was a model of what we would want our MP, our Minister, and, most of all, our friend to be. I first met James in the shadow Home Affairs team before the 2010 election and then as junior Ministers in the Home Office for four years, and he was the perfect colleague. Many was the evening we spent giving each other mutual support not just because of the pressures of the job, but because of the added pressures of working for an exceptionally demanding Home Secretary. He was diligent, thoughtful, collegiate, and an absolute team player. To revive an old cliché: he was absolutely a man whom you would go into the jungle with—he would have your back.

All these tributes to his political effectiveness are not just standard conventional remarks to make on an occasion like this. We can simply look at the facts. James was appointed and reappointed to a succession of really difficult ministerial jobs by all three Prime Ministers since 2010. Almost no one else has negotiated those particular rapids as successfully as James has. In paying tribute to him, of course we mourn with Cathy and the children, but we should also celebrate James’s political legacy, because, above all, he showed that it was possible to be a completely admirable human being and a successful Member of Parliament, and, in these times, that is a great and important memory to leave all of us.