Barclay in the best of health as he wins promotion
- Credit: Steve Barclay
Fall-out from Partygate won him promotion and on Tuesday the consequences of a drunken Tory MP groping two young men secured him the job he coveted – that of Health Secretary.
Such has been the political fortune of NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay.
Mr Barclay took over on Tuesday following the dramatic resignation of Sajid Javid.
It was followed by dozens of other resignations from the Government and Boris Johnson looks certain to be ousted soon as prime minister.
But Mr Barclay remains buoyant about his new job.
“Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives,” he said.
And he promised NHS investment to “beat the Covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients can access the care they need”.
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Campaigners to re-build the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn were among the first to contact him.
Independent councillor Jo Rust told him: “We've had delay after delay and we just can't wait any longer.
“You know from experience how bad it is and why we must be on the list for funding.
“Do the right thing. Base funding on need. And our QEH is in the most desperate need.”
A year ago, Mr Barclay threw his weight behind the campaign.
"It's important that we have fit-for-purpose major hospitals to deal with complex needs and procedure,” he said.
“Many constituents will have paid a visit to the hospital at one time or another and recent visitors will have seen that the roof is currently supported by almost 200 metal poles.
"The hospital is 40 years old and there comes a time when repeated short term fixes become more costly and less patient friendly than starting afresh.
“My son was born at the QEH so I know from personal experience how important it is to many families in the constituency and beyond.”
Mr Barclay has been Johnson’s chief of staff and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and has also previously served as a Brexit secretary.
Labour greeted his new appointment by congratulating him as "the shortest serving Health Secretary in history".
Mr Barclay was handed the chief of staff role in February as part of a shake-up of No 10 in response to the partygate scandal.
The PM has been left wounded following a swathe of resignations and longer-term concerns over the cost of living and sleaze allegations.