Son of a former council chief executive, Mr Brokenshire has been described as a “decent” man with a wide-ranging political career covering drugs policy, immigration and Northern Ireland.
Considered a close ally to the prime minister, having served under her in the Home Office, this connection also has the potential for recrimination - there are accusations of Mr Brokenshire’s personal involvement in the Windrush scandal, having served as immigration minister at the time of the policy’s inception.
Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive of the Localis thinktank, said: “The sector would be hard-pressed to find a more decent person on the Tory benches than James Brokenshire.”
Born in Southend, Mr Brokenshire went to a grammar school in Essex and studied law at Exeter University. Before becoming an MP Mr Brokenshire worked as a lawyer for 13 years, advising on mergers and acquisitions in the real estate team at Jones Day.
He is the son of Peter Brokenshire who, after five years as Epping Forest DC’s chief executive, he became chief of Greenwich LBC and then joined the Audit Commission as a director where he remained for nine years before retiring.
Notable moments in his political career include drafting the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and leading negotiations following the Northern Ireland Executive collapse.
- 2005: First became an MP in 2005
- 2005-06: Member of the Commons’ constitutional affairs select committee
- 2006-10: Shadow minister for crime reduction
- 2010-11: Minister for crime reduction
- Aug 2010: Calls for a “new” and “ambitious” drugs policy and starts a new government “drugs blog”
- Dec 2010: Closes the forensic science agency, as it was making £2m losses each year. Science committee criticises the decision, finds wider implications “appear to have been overlooked in favour of the financial bottom line
- 2011: Appointed minister for crime and security
- 2014-16: Becomes minister for security and immigration under Theresa May who was then home secretary
- Tells Parliament his department removed passports from 14 individuals reportedly involved in terrorism
- September 2015: Croydon LBC writes to Mr Brokenshire requesting more money to help asylum seeking children
- December 2015: Tells parliament that reuniting refugee families not “practical or sustainable”and encourages “asylum shopping”
- February 2016: Apologises after understating statistics on child refugee deportations in parliament by 250%
- May 2016: Implicated in the ‘Windrush’ scandal by confirming to Kate Hoey MP that UK resident liable for deportation because they could not show their arrival papers, despite having lived in Britain for 45 years.
- July 2016-18: Northern Ireland secretary
- November 2016: ‘Cash for Ash’ scandal emerges surrounding Arlene Foster and the DUP
- January 2017: Northern Ireland Executive collapses, partly due to the ‘Cash for Ash’ scandal. Mr Brokenshire temporarily assumes Executive powers.
- March 2017: Conservative-leaning Spectator argues Mr Brokenshire “out of his depth”, arguing that Stormont talks “never even made it to the vital plenary stage”
- July 2017: Stormont talks break down after Conservative party agree £1bn agreement with the DUP
- December 2017: Diagnosed with lung cancer and subsquently resigns to seek medical treatment.
- April 2018: Appointed Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government