Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel lead mourners at James Brokenshire’s funeral

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Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel condoled the funeral of former minister James Brokenshire today.

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The former cabinet minister tragically passed away earlier this month at the age of 53 from lung cancer.

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Former Cabinet Minister James Brokenshire’s funeral took place todaycredits: PA
The 53-year-old died of lung cancer earlier this month

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The 53-year-old died of lung cancer earlier this monthcredits: PA
Mr Brokenshire resigned over the summer due to ill health

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Mr Brokenshire resigned over the summer due to ill healthcredit: Camera Press

He was a lifelong non-smoker, having held senior positions including Secretary of Housing and Secretary of Northern Ireland.

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Mr Brokenshire was most recently security minister in the Home Office before resigning in July due to ill health.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May gives a reading from Mark Gospel at a funeral in her constituency Old Bexley and Sidcup.

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Former Brexit Secretary David Davies, former Northern Irish First Minister Arlene Foster, and Met Police chief Cressida Dick are among the mourners.

Heavy police presence was seen around St John the Evangelist Church in Bexley, where the service took place this afternoon.

Leading the funeral, the reverend Scott Lamb described Mr Brockenshire as “the boldest” and “the most civilized of men”.

He said the former MP entered politics “not out of ambition but because he wanted to do something different”.

He added: “As a local MP, no matter was too frivolous or too litigious.”

Mr Brokenshire was elected to Old Bexley and Sidcup in 2010 after the Hornchurch constituency, which he had served for five years earlier, was abolished.

His first job after being elected was to save the Queen Mary Hospital in Sidcup, which was set to close.

Rev Lamb said: “There are hospital services on that site today because of James’ vision.

“The irony was not lost on James that he found cancer care services himself, which he had struggled to deliver to the local people.

“And in the same house in which he had restored the first earth, he did so, and every day a plaque with his name changed over it.”

Theresa May gave a reading at the funeral in Bexley

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Theresa May gave a reading at the funeral in Bexleycredits: PA
Home Secretary Priti Patel was also among those mourning.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel was also among those mourning.credits: PA
Chancellor Rishi Sunak attended today's service

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak attended today’s servicecredits: PA
The former PM was seen chatting with Met Police chief Cressida Dickey

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The former PM was seen chatting with Met Police chief Cressida Dickeycredits: PA

Rev Lamb said Mr Brokenshire’s father, Peter, worked in local government, while his mother, Joan, took him to a local Conservative fundraiser.

“He joined the Young Conservatives in his teens and started preaching, and, well, just never stopped,” he told the congregation.

Rev Lamb said that on their wedding day in 1999, Mr Brokenshire’s widow Cathy had given her husband a portrait of the House of Commons.

And he said to her: “I hope you will be there.”

Mr Brokenshire’s eldest daughter Sophie, 18, said that for many he had been a colleague, an MP, a friend, while he was simply “dad” to her.

She said “maybe you can hook up to that person in small moments” and like her father she will try to be “a very decent person”.

Mr Brockenshire, a father of three children, died by his bedside with his family at Darrant Valley Hospital in Kent.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, but returned to the Commons only five weeks after the operation.

However, he resigned from the Home Office in July saying his recovery was taking longer than expected.

In August he revealed that his lung cancer had progressed, but insisted he “remained upbeat”.

He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after his condition “deteriorating rapidly” on October 7, five days before his death.

Mr Brokenshire continued to help the constituents from his bed until two days before he died.

Boris Johnson, who was in Armagh today for a service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland, praised the former MP as “heroic”.

He said: “James was the nicest, kindest and most simple of politicians, but also extraordinarily effective.”

Three other former prime ministers also paid tribute to the “best man in politics”.

Meanwhile the Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer called him a “perfectly decent man, devoted and effective in all the abbreviations he held”.

Boris Johnson pays tribute to Mr Brokenshire as 'heroic'

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Boris Johnson pays tribute to Mr Brokenshire as ‘heroic’credits: PA

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