New Brexit Secretary is a Leaver and ex-City regulator

New Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay is a Leave supporter with a reputation for financial nous.

After a slowish start to his ministerial career he has now catapulted to the Cabinet front rank in a role potentially crucial to Theresa May’s political survival.

The son of a trade union official father and a civil servant mother, the 42-year-old describes himself as coming from a “working class Northern background” in Lancashire.

The youngest of three brothers, he came from the first generation of his family to go to university, reading history at Cambridge and spending a gap year serving in the Army with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Brexit
Mr Barclay’s appointment comes at a crucial time in the Brexit process (Stefan Rousseau/AP)

After training as a lawyer, he worked as regulator for the Financial Services Authority and head of anti-money laundering at Barclays Bank before embarking on a political career.

Picked for David Cameron’s “A-list” of favoured candidates, he finally won the seat of North East Cambridgeshire in the 2010 general election having twice stood unsuccessfully parliament.

Despite his record as a government loyalist he had to wait until after the following election in 2015 before he made it to the ministerial ranks as a junior whip.

Instead he spent the coalition years building a reputation as a tough and effective interrogator of officials as a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Stephen Barclay MP @SteveBarclay to be Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union @DExEUgov

— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) November 16, 2018

During the EU referendum in 2016, he supported the official Vote Leave campaign, after ministers were given the freedom to campaign for either side.

Following the 2017 election he was finally promoted out of the whips office by Mrs May who made him her new City minister.

His financial background made him an obvious choice at a time when foreign competitors were looking to take advantage of Brexit to take away business from the Square Mile.

Nevertheless, he served only six months in the Treasury before he was promoted again to minister of state at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Mr Barclay is married with two children.