Steve Barclay named new Brexit Secretary

Steve Barclay named new Brexit Secretary

Following the resignation of Dominic Raab over the draft Withdrawal Agreement, Theresa May has just appointed the relatively unknown middle-ranking minister Steve Barclay as the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Elected Conservative MP for North East Cambridgeshire at the 2010 General Election, he spent most of his first term in Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee. After the 2015 General Election he was appointed to the Whips’ Office, where he served for two years before a brief stint as Economic Secretary to the Treasury between June 2017 and January 2018, since when he has been a Minister at the Department for Health and Social Care.

At the 2016 referendum, he backed Leave, declaring in a tweet on referendum day:

“Let’s believe in Britain not Brussels. It is time to have confidence in our country and take back control.” 

Indeed, by my reckoning, he was the only whip to declare for Leave at the referendum, when all others backed the Remain campaign.

Meanwhile, replacing Suella Braverman as a junior minister at DExEU is Leave-backing Kwasi Kwarteng, who has been MP for Spelthorne in Surrey since 2010 and who has been Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, for the last 18 months.

In other reshuffle news, Amber Rudd returns to Government as Work and Pensions Secretary in place of Esther McVey; arch-Remainer Stephen Hammond takes Barclay’s job at the Department for Health; and European Research Group officer John Penrose (who actually voted Remain) fills the vacancy at the Northern Ireland Office created by Shailesh Vara’s resignation.