Created by Stephen one year ago
Yesterday I learnt that I had lost one of my oldest friends James Brokenshire. Over the past 24 hours so much has been said about James, by people who were close friends and colleagues and by others who had only met him in passing. I have received condolences from people that I haven't heard from for years and who had little or no link to the world of politics that first brought James and I together.
The unifying message that has come through these comments is how decent James was. A description of decent not in a belittling or patronising way, but in a way that recognised that this was a person who set out to have a career in politics to genuinely do the right thing for the people that he served right across the UK. He wanted to make a difference (like most of us do in politics) but he did it in a way that really put the interests of the people of this country first, he truly walked the walk in a way that very few of his colleagues do.
James is probably the hairiest man that I have ever met (always below the collar line), he had a liking for occasionally effeminate casual shirts that I would tease him mercilessly about, and when I tried to help teach him to ski, he looked and skied like a traffic cone (although I still got him down a black run in Canada!).
For as long as I've known James he came as part of a package, always with his beautiful girlfriend and then wife Cathy and she has supported him in every part of his career. They went on to have three wonderful children, I cant imagine how tough this is for them, and my heart goes out to them, but knowing them as I do I know that they will gain strength and grace from each other.
Of all of us who grew up together as Essex and Eastern region young Conservatives, James in his career has uniquely held the highest offices of state. Whilst he was an incredibly effective politician, he didn't play political games for the sake of it. The only time I've ever seen him truly angry was when what he was trying to achieve was being blocked by people who were playing the system.
He worked tirelessly for his constituents, but he always had a wider strategic view of where the country should go, not a view born in the dogma of Brexit or Thatcherism but one that just put the general interests of our country first
This country has lost one of its brightest political minds, someone who genuinely did it for the right reasons, his family have have lost an incredible dad and husband, and I have lost someone who I was immensely privileged to call my friend.
Rest in peace James.