TRIBUTE: James was a great boss and good friend

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TRIBUTE: James was a great boss and good friend

Lee Scott, the former MP and close friend of late ex communities secretary James Brokenshire, remembers happy and interesting times together.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire speaking to a tenant of Jewish Care facility Wohl Court
Communities secretary James Brokenshire speaking to a tenant of Jewish Care facility Wohl Court

I have known James, Cathy and the family for 22 years. He was my nearby MP then, in later years, my boss when I was his special advisor but, mostly, he was one of my closest friends.

We had many happy and interesting times together. James, Cathy and the family attended our daughter’s wedding in Jerusalem and visited Buchenwald, from which James’ father-in-law and his family survived.

He was a special person. I have never known a politician who was so loved by all sides of the House of Commons. It is hard for me to write these words as I still cannot accept he is no longer with us. He battled cancer with dignity and bravery. Me and my wife, Estelle, will be here for Cathy and the family.

One story sums up James to me. On our visit to Buchenwald, we said Kaddish and then sang Hatikvah. Halfway through it I cried and James came over, put his arms round me and said:
“I understand and will make sure the memorial in Westminster happens.” Sadly, he will not be here to see it, but I know when it is built he will be looking down and be proud.

It was a difficult time after I lost my seat in Parliament, but James was there for me. When he phoned and asked me to go back into government as his special adviser, it was an honour to do so and a very happy time. He was the best boss and we made a difference. He then encouraged me to go back into full-time politics, and
I am now an Essex county councillor and cabinet member for highways and transport.

James will always be remembered. He has always been there for me and his loss to the country but, more importantly to his family is vast. His legacy will live on. May he rest in peace.

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