How promotion quickened in recent years for new Brexit minister Steve Barclay as he moved from the back benches to a Cabinet post
PUBLISHED: 17:34 16 November 2018
In recent years the pace of Steve Barclay’s acceleration from back bench MP has quickened.
Following a stint in the whips office through to city minister and to the department of health he now finds himself if not at the prime minister’s right hand only an arm length’s away.
Behind the scenes he was always hot favourite to win the nomination for NE Cambs where, ironically, he defeated another of Theresa May’s ministers, James Brokenshire, to the safe Tory seat.
Barclay’s approach to constituency life has always been full-on but he likes to control what the media takes from his visits locally. He employed a journalist for some time to handle his PR and even today has his own photographer turn up at events he’s attending to ensure saturation social media coverage.
Locally he’s upset some Tories by his criticism of Fenland Council (particularly over what he feels is their lack lustre progress on economic growth) and he was intensely critical of the council for not pushing for agric tech proposals to boost local employment.
His campaigns on ‘make it local’ for health services have enjoyed great success and influenced his ministerial work.
Barclay is also famously credited for unpacking with razor like precision the failings and lack of governance of the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). No one was happier than him when the Government pulled the plug on it.
A fervent supporter of devolution, he has been a consistent supporter of the new combined authority for Cambridgeshire that he believes will finally bring investment and infrastructure to the Fens and above all else the re-opening of the rail line Wisbech-March rail line.