Stephen Barclay becomes new Brexit secretary

PUBLISHED: 16:41 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 16 November 2018

Stephen Barclay. Photograph: Archant.

Stephen Barclay. Photograph: Archant.


A former director at Barclays bank, Stephen Barclay, has been promoted to Brexit Secretary from a ministerial role in the Department for Health.

Meanwhile Amber Rudd made a dramatic return to Theresa May’s cabinet as the prime minister sought to bolster her position following the backlash to her Brexit deal.

The reshuffle came just hours after Michael Gove offered May a lifeline by staying on in his cabinet role.

Environment Secretary Gove insisted he still has confidence in May who has suffered a series of setbacks following the publication of her draft Brexit deal with Brussels.

She has suffered the loss of four ministers and faces continued speculation that a vote of no confidence in her leadership could be triggered by Tory MPs within days.

Stephen Barclay as an Economic Secretary with Liz Truss, Philip Hammond, Mel Stride and Andrew Jones. Photograph: PA.Stephen Barclay as an Economic Secretary with Liz Truss, Philip Hammond, Mel Stride and Andrew Jones. Photograph: PA.

Rudd was a prominent Remain campaigner during the referendum and her return to the cabinet, in place of Brexiteer Esther McVey who resigned, may do little to bridge divides within the Tory ranks.

The rehabilitation of Rudd, who quit in a row over immigration targets, comes after a report concluded she had been let down by her officials.

Leave-backing Barclay was appointed after Gove reportedly turned down the post after saying he would only take it if he could renegotiate the EU withdrawal agreement.

He is the MP for North East Cambridgeshire and had been a minister in the Department of Health since January 2018. Between June 2017 and January 2018 he was the government’s economic secretary.

Despite Barclay’s Vote Leave background, political commentators have suggested he will limited influence on Theresa May’s Brexit plan before MPs vote on it in the coming months.

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