Former Brexit secretary could forgo redundancy payout to become environment minister

Stephen Barclay speaks to Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin in a pub. Photograph: Stephen Barclay/Twit

Stephen Barclay speaks to Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin in a pub. Photograph: Stephen Barclay/Twitter. - Credit: Archant

The former Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has been tipped to take the role of environment secretary after the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle.

Barclay was reportedly set to receive £17,000 (approximately a quarter of his ministerial salary) when the Department for Exiting the European Union closed its doors on January 31st.

But the former Brexit secretary, who first started in the job after Dominic Raab resigned in November 2018, could forfeit the payment under cabinet office rules if he takes a new government job within three weeks of the redundancy.

A spokesperson for the prime minister confirmed the payout by telling journalists: "In the usual way, all ministers are entitled to payments when they step down from their job. It's obviously up to individuals what they choose to do."

But the former minister is expected to return to cabinet in the coming days after successfully leading negotiations with the EU on the Withdrawal Agreement.

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The Huffington Post reports that he is likely to replace Theresa Villiers at DEFRA, "with his knowledge of Brexit detail likely to prove valuable in the department most affected."

Villiers was one of a number of female cabinet ministers who could lose their job in the latest cabinet reshuffle.

Others that could be demoted or sacked include Liz Truss, Therese Coffey and Andrea Leadsom.

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