Brokenshire announced his resignation on 7 July, telling Boris Johnson that his recovery from lung cancer treatment was “taking longer than anticipated” after a resurgence of the illness he was diagnosed with two years ago.
The move came shortly after Labour claimed that the arrest on Tuesday of a British man in Berlin on suspicion of spying for Russia raised questions about the prime minister’s failure to fill the security post. The shadow security minister, Conor McGinn, said it “beggared belief” that the role had not been filled five weeks on.
A Home Office spokesperson said on Wednesday: “The home secretary is responsible for all areas of Home Office business, including those related to national security.”
The security minister brief outlined on the government’s website is extensive. Responsibilities include counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime, cybercrime, economic crime, hostile state activity, extradition, and royal and VIP protection.
It also covers online harms; the common travel area between the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands; aviation and maritime security; Grenfell; and flooding, hurricane, and natural disaster relief.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister also oversaw the functioning of the domestic national security system, including MI5, counter-terrorism policing, as well as the functioning of the serious and organised crime system, including the National Crime Agency, and cybersecurity.
McGinn said: “This is a clear sign that the Conservatives don’t take the safety of our citizens seriously enough. Rather than No 10 and the home secretary briefing against each other, Britain’s security should be the government’s number one concern.
“Getting rid of a specific, day-to-day, senior government minister responsible for security and counter-terrorism when Britain’s national security is under threat 24 hours a day, seven days a week is an abdication of responsibility.
“From the chaos in the Channel to the Police Federation declaring no confidence in her, the home secretary is clearly struggling to deliver on her current responsibilities. It is unwise that she takes on an additional role.”