LEO MCKINSTRY thinks that honors to the nicest of MPs should leave a legacy of politeness.
One of the enduring traits of too many Left-wingers is their assumption that they have a monopoly on compassion in the political world. It nourishes their arrogance as well as their contempt for opponents.
That kind of bullying intolerance was encapsulated in Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner’s infamous diatribe at the party’s conference, in which she called the Tories “truly disgusting, racist, misogynistic, homophobic filth.”
However, a sad tragedy in recent days has highlighted the offensive baselessness of her outburst. James Brokenshire, the Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup and a former Cabinet minister, died last Friday at the age of 53 following a long and valiant fight with lung cancer.
He is survived by his widow, Cathy, and his three children.
Brokenshire was not a big beast in Westminster, despite his excellent career on the Front Bench, which included a stint as Northern Ireland Secretary.
The decency of his character, on the other hand, was what set him apart. He was the polar opposite of Rayner’s ridiculous portrayal of a Tory Minister: modest, thoughtful, and generous.
The flood of tributes to his memory demonstrated this. Boris Johnson described him as “one of the sweetest, kindest, and unassuming of colleagues,” while a former Home Office assistant described him as “a joy to work with.” He represented “the finest of humanity,” according to close friend Peter Cardwell, the political editor of talkRADIO, who said he combined “integrity, diligence, and fun like no one else.”
The most striking aspect of all this adulation, however, was its breadth, which extended far beyond the government and the Conservatives. Mr Brokenshire astonished figures from many walks of life in Britain with his warmth, loyalty, and lack of vanity.
“His faith and courage were an inspiration to countless many, including me,” said Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Even the notoriously snobby Ulster Orange Order praised him as “a gentleman.”
The Labour Party did not shy away from joining this heartfelt chorus of approval. Brokenshire was hailed as “a very decent man” by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and as “that rarest of diamonds in politics – a genuinely kind man” by Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti.
More than £12,000 had been contributed to his family’s chosen charity, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, within 24 hours of an online fundraising being put up in his honor.
Despite never having smoked, he was diagnosed with the cancer in 2018 and became a dedicated campaigner. “Brinkwire News Summary.”