James Brokenshire

The Right Honourable
James Brokenshire
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
14 July 2016
Prime Minister Theresa May
Preceded by Theresa Villiers
Minister for Security and Immigration
In office
8 February 2014  14 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Himself (Security)
Mark Harper (Immigration)
Succeeded by Robert Goodwill
Under Secretary of State for Crime and Security
In office
11 May 2011  8 February 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by The Baroness Neville-Jones
Succeeded by Himself (Security and Immigration)
Member of Parliament
for Old Bexley and Sidcup
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Derek Conway
Majority 15,857 (34.9%)
Member of Parliament
for Hornchurch
In office
5 May 2005  6 May 2010
Preceded by John Cryer
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1968-01-07) 7 January 1968
Southend-on-Sea, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Cathrine Mamelok (1999–present)
Children 3
Alma mater University of Exeter
London Guildhall University
Website Official website

James Peter Brokenshire PC MP (born 7 January 1968) is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornchurch from 2005 until the constituency's abolition under renewed boundaries at the 2010 general election. At this election, he was elected to the seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup. He has previously served as Minister for Security and Immigration at the Home Office, that grants him a seat on the National Security Council. He currently serves as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Brokenshire studied A-levels at Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies and later law at the University of Exeter before beginning work with a large international law firm. Deciding on a career in politics, he stood successfully as the Conservative candidate for the parliamentary constituency of Hornchurch in the 2005 general election. When his constituency was abolished in the boundary changes, he sought out another constituency to represent, failing to be selected in six constituencies until being selected for Old Bexley and Sidcup. He was elected MP for the area in 2010, on a campaign devoted to preventing the closure of accident and emergency services at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, a policy on which he was unsuccessful.

In the frontbench team of Prime Minister David Cameron, he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime Reduction, although in May 2011 was transferred to the position of Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime and Security. In these two positions he oversaw the closure and privatisation of the Forensic Science Service and championed the Modern Slavery Bill. In February 2014, he was appointed Minister for Security and Immigration. In July 2016, under Theresa May's new cabinet, he was appointed the Northern Ireland Secretary.[1]

Early life and career

Brokenshire was born on 8 January 1968,[2] in the town of Southend-on-Sea, Essex.[3] He was educated at Davenant Foundation Grammar School in Loughton and then at the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies.[3] He went on to gain a degree in law at the University of Exeter.[3]

Brokenshire subsequently worked as a partner at international law firm Jones Day. In this position, he advised companies, businesses, and financial institutions on company law, mergers, acquisitions, and corporate finance transactions.[3][4]

Political career

Member of Parliament for Hornchurch

He was first elected at the 2005 general election to the parliamentary constituency of Hornchurch, defeating the Labour candidate and incumbent member John Cryer by 480 votes. The election itself resulted in a third successive term for Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Labour government.

From 2005 to 2006, Brokenshire was a member of the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.[3] From 2006 to 2010 he then served as the Shadow Minister for Crime Reduction.[3]

Brokenshire was aware that his constituency, Hornchurch, was to be dissolved for the next election. In November 2006, he applied for selection as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Witham in Essex, but he was defeated by Priti Patel.[5] He simultaneously campaigned to be selected as Conservative candidate for the constituency of Hornchurch and Upminster, but in March 2007 was defeated there by Angela Watkinson.[6]

He next stood for Gillingham and Rainham in July 2007, Grantham and Stamford in October 2007, North East Cambridgeshire in January 2008, and Maidstone and The Weald later that same month. He was unsuccessful in all of these attempts.[7]

Member of Parliament for Old Bexley and Sidcup

Old Bexley and Sidcup in Greater London.

Derek Conway, the member for the Conservative safe seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup in southeast London, was embroiled in an expenses scandal and forced to resign, after which Brokenshire put his name forward as a potential replacement. His competitors for the seat were Rebecca Harris, Katie Lindsay, and Julia Manning,[8] and he was successful in gaining the selection for the seat in June 2008.[9] This was the seventh seat he applied to be a candidate for ahead of the 2010 election. As a result, he was accused of being a "serial carpetbagger" by a local single issue party, Independents to Save Queen Mary's Hospital.[7]

In the May 2010 general election, Brokenshire was elected for Old Bexley and Sidcup with 24,625 votes (53.93%), beating the Labour candidate Rick Everitt, in second place with 8,768 votes (19.21%). Voter turnout was 69.13%.[2][10] Upon victory, Brokenshire announced that as per his pre-election pledges, his priority would be to prevent the proposed closure of accident and emergency services at local Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.[10] The hospital's A&E department was closed in November of the same year.[11]

Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime Reduction

With no party gaining an overall majority in the House of Commons, the election resulted in the formation of a coalition government consisting of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, led by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. The new government appointed Brokenshire as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime Reduction in the Home Office.[3] One of his first moves was to initiate the closing of the United Kingdom's Forensic Science Service; it had been making operational losses of £2 million a month, and was predicted to go into administration in early 2011. Brokenshire stated his desire that there would be "no continuing state interest in a forensics provider by March 2012", with the service's role being taken on by private enterprise. Critics asserted that this move would result in the loss of hundreds of jobs and the degradation of forensic research and criminal justice, with an MPs enquiry chaired by Labour MP Andrew Miller criticising the manner in which the closure had been overseen.[12][13][14]

In August 2010, Brokenshire called for the government to adopt a new approach to the war on drugs in Britain; he argued that they should focus on getting addicts off drugs, rather than minimising the effects of drug use, as the preceding Labour government had focused on.[15]

Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime and Security

In May 2011, Brokenshire's Home Office brief was changed from Crime Reduction to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime and Security following the resignation of Baroness Neville-Jones, although he was not appointed to the more senior rank of Minister of State.[16] In this position, he was responsible for updating plans to tackle terror content online. A move seen as controversial by broadband companies and freedom of speech groups.[17]

In the buildup to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he stated his belief that the games would be a "great success", largely due to the government's security measures. He also commented that "I think it will bring Bexley together and the torch relay will be a fantastic event for the community... I'm quite sure it will have a lasting impression."[18]

In October 2013, Brokenshire published a draft of a proposed Modern Slavery Bill,[19] designed to tackle slavery in the UK He was quoted as saying that the Bill will "send the strongest possible message to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade in human beings, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up."[20] Experts in the issue were sceptical of the Bill, believing that it had many shortcomings and was designed largely to enhance Theresa May's career.[21]

In January 2014, Brokenshire called on National Rail to improve its services, after statistics were published revealing that rail services across Bexley Borough had worsened throughout 2013.[22]

Minister of State for Security and Immigration

Brokenshire assumed the enlarged role of Minister for Security and Immigration on 8 February 2014 following the resignation of Mark Harper.[23]

Northern Ireland Secretary

In July 2016, under Theresa May's new cabinet, he was appointed the Northern Ireland Secretary.[1]

Personal life

Brokenshire married in 1999, Cathrine Anne Mamelok.[24] They have two daughters and a son.[3]

He has expressed support for the charity Cancer Research UK and in March 2013 publicly backed their Cell Slider website, calling on all of his constituents to get involved in the initiative.[25]


  1. 1 2 "James Brokenshire appointed Northern Ireland Secretary - PM's office". Reuters. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  2. 1 2 "James Brokenshire MP". BBC News. 2013. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "James Brokenshire". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014.
  4. his Who's who entry says "Solicitor with Jones Day Gouldens, 1991–2005"
  5. Carlin, Brendan (22 November 2006). "Tories pick British-Asian woman in safe seat". London: The Telegraph.
  6. . ConservativeHome http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2007/03/angela_watkinso.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. 1 2 "James Brokenshire – SERIAL CARPETBAGGER". Independents to Save Queen Mary's Hospital. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014.
  8. "The four finalists for Old Bexley and Sidcup". ConservativeHome. 29 June 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  9. "James Brokenshire MP selected for Old Bexley & Sidcup". ConservativeHome. 1 July 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  10. 1 2 Piper, Linda (7 May 2010). "VOTE 2010: Brokenshire wins Old Bexley & Sidcup". Newshopper.
  11. "Hospital closes emergency and maternity departments". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  12. "Forensic Science Service to be wound up with hundreds of jobs lost". The Guardian. 14 December 2014.
  13. Johnson, Wesley (14 December 2010). "Forensic science service to be wound up". The Independent. London.
  14. Rincon, Paul (4 July 2011). "Forensic Science Service closure plan criticised by MPs". BBC News.
  15. "We need to be more ambitious in the war on drugs, says minister". The Guardian. 23 August 2010.
  16. Johnson, Wesley (12 May 2011). "James Brokenshire takes on security role". Independent. London. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  17. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/27/ministers-order-isps-block-terrorist-websites
  18. "'Olympics will be a Success' says Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire". Newshopper. 19 December 2011.
  19. Draft Modern Slavery Bill – Joint Select Committee information on UK Parliament website and text of draft bill.
  20. Wood, Helois (18 October 2013). "Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire announces plans to help end human trafficking". Newshopper.
  21. Dugan, Emily (14 December 2013). "Government's Modern Slavery Bill will 'fail victims and spare criminals'". The Independent. London.
  22. Wood, Heloise (14 January 2014). "Old Bexley and Sidcup MP calls for Network Rail to make improvements". Newshopper.
  23. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/details-of-ministerial-appointments-announced
  24. Marriage – information from Who's who.
  25. MacFarlane, Tim (17 March 2013). "Brokenshire backs Cancer Research UK's Cell Slider website". Newshopper.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Cryer
Member of Parliament
for Hornchurch

Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Derek Conway
Member of Parliament
for Old Bexley and Sidcup

Political offices
Preceded by
Theresa Villiers
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
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