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Tory MP and ex-minister James Brokenshire announces lung cancer has ‘progressed’

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Former minister James Brokenshire has announced his lung cancer has “progressed” and that he will be beginning a new line of treatment this week.

Revealing the “unwelcome news” on social media, the Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup asked for “space to focus on treatment”.

Mr Brokenshire stepped down as security minister in July this year after admitting his cancer recovery was taking “longer than expected”.

“Regrettably my cancer has progressed. Am starting a new line of treatment this week & receiving great care from the team at [Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust],” he said.

“Unwelcome news but keeping upbeat. Cathy and the kids have been amazing and appreciate all the kind messages. Now need space to focus on treatment.”

After posting the message, former security minister Mr Brokenshire received an outpouring of support.

Responding to the initial tweet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “So sorry to hear James. Our thoughts are with you and your family, and we hope you recover soon.”

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And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “This is very sad news James but glad to hear you’re in good hands. Wishing you a speedy recovery and my thoughts with you and your family.”

Other MPs including vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also expressed their well-wishes.

In July, Mr Brokenshire wrote a letter to the PM announcing he was standing down from the government to focus on restoring his health after having his right lung removed as part of his treatment in February this year.

He thanked the PM for his support and thanked the “truly amazing” medical professionals who had attended to him.

“My recovery from treatment and return to full duties is, however, taking longer than anticipated,” Mr Brokenshire said in the letter.

“Given my responsibilities to the public, the government and to Parliament, I have therefore concluded that it is best that I stand down from my ministerial role and focus on restoring my health.”

He added that he hopes to be able to “serve again in some way in the future”.

Replying to his letter, the PM said he looked forward to welcoming Mr Brokenshire back “as soon as possible”.

James Brokenshire
Image: James Brokenshire was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 after he coughed up a spot of blood during an event at Hillsborough Castle as Northern Ireland secretary

Mr Brokenshire was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 after he coughed up a spot of blood during an event at Hillsborough Castle as Northern Ireland secretary.

He subsequently stepped down from his Cabinet role to undergo treatment.

After getting the all clear, he was appointed by Mr Johnson to the Home Office in February 2020.

However, the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP stepped back from his government role in January 2021 after discovering his lung cancer had returned.