Who is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Health Secretary Steve Barclay?

Steve Barclay Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made Steve Barclay, former chief of staff at Number 10, his new health secretary.

It comes as a number of cabinet members switched their jobs on Tuesday night, with the North East Cambridgeshire MP replacing Sajid Javid after he resigned from the role.

Mr Barclay said: “It is an honour to take up the position of Health and Social Care Secretary.

"Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again - throughout the pandemic and beyond - what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives.  

“This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the Covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need.” 

Mr Johnson’s new health secretary was appointed his chief of staff earlier this year and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He has also previously served as a Brexit secretary.

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.

It came as Mr Johnson promised a “reset” in No 10 after he was left wounded following a swathe of resignations.

A qualified solicitor, Steve Barclay has represented North East Cambridgeshire since 2010. Each year he has increased his majority, gaining 72.5% of the vote in 2019.

Mr Barclay was a Leave supporter and served as Brexit secretary from November 2018 until January 2020.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said that asymptomatic testing in high risk settings would resume ‘should it be needed’ Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Labour greeted Mr Barclay’s appointment to the helm of the Health Department by congratulating him as “the shortest serving Health Secretary in history”.

The son of a trade union official father and a civil servant mother, he has previously described 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.

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 for parliament.

He was made a junior whip in 2015.

Following the 2017 election, he was promoted out of the whips’ office by then-prime minister Theresa May who made him her new City minister.

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

After his first Cabinet role as Brexit Secretary, he moved to become chief secretary to the Treasury in February 2020, and was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in September 2021.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...