James Brokenshire, aged 50 and MP for the Kent seat of Old Bexley & Sidcup, returned to the Cabinet yesterday as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government. He succeeds Sajid Javid, who was promoted to home secretary on the resignation of Amber Rudd after she was caught out giving false information to a parliamentary committee.
Mr Brokenshire was secretary of state for Northern Ireland until January 2018 when he left government to have surgery for lung cancer.
He is regarded as a close ally of prime minister Theresa May, having served under her as a minister at the Home Office during the Cameron premiership.
Of his return to frontline government, he said: “I am honoured to have been asked by the prime minister to serve as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government. I am determined to get Britain building the homes our country needs so everyone can afford a place to call their own.
“One of my top priorities is going to be ensuring everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower fire gets the support they need and we learn lessons from the tragedy so something like this can never happen again.
“As the son of a former chief executive of a council, local government is in the blood for me. So I look forward to working with councils across the country by supporting them to deliver quality public services and build strong integrated communities.”
His father, Peter Brokenshire, was chief executive of Epping Forest District Council and subsequently the London Borough of Greenwich.
James Brokenshire was educated at an Essex grammar school and the University of Exeter, where he studied law.