The MP for North East Cambridgeshire backed Leave during the 2016 referendum and part of his new role will involve shepherding Theresa May’s Brexit legislation through Parliament. But the Prime Minister will take the reins in further talks with Brussels and will lead negotiations over the future UK/EU trade deal herself. Mr Barclay served as a minister at the department for health and social care. before his big promotion to Cabinet.

A former director at Barclays Bank, Mr Barclay has also previously worked as City minister and a whip at the Treasury.

He fills the gap left by Mr Raab who yesterday quit in protest over the draft divorce deal negotiated with Brussels.

The 46-year-old becomes Britain’s third Brexit Secretary since the post was created in July 2016.

Reacting to the new appointment, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: “The new Brexit Secretary is completely unknown to the British public, the Civil Service is really in charge of these negotiations.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Hammond will take over the vacancy left by Steve Barclay’s move to the Department for Exiting the European European Union.

The Wimbledon MP was sacked as Conservative vice-chairman in December after backing a rebel amendment calling for Parliament to be guaranteed a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal.

Amber Rudd will return to Mrs May’s Cabinet as the new work and pensions secretary, filling the vacancy left by Esther McVey.

Brexiteer Kwasi Kwarteng will move from the Treasury to replace Suella Braverman, who followed Dominic Raab out of the door on Thursday.

And former tourism minister John Penrose has been made a minister in the Northern Ireland office to replace Shailesh Vara, who also resigned on Thursday.

The appointments were confirmed by Downing Street this afternoon following intense speculation over the possibility of more resignations in protest over the draft Brexit deal.

Mrs May is facing the prospect of an imminent challenge to her leadership as Tory Brexiteers submit letters of no confidence.

Forty-eight are needed to trigger a vote. Reports suggest the required number of letters could be gathered as soon as next week, though only around 20 MPs have publicly called for vote.

Full details of Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle:

– Stephen Barclay to Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

– Amber Rudd to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

– Stephen Hammond to Minister of State in the Department of Health and Social Care

– John Penrose to Minister of State in the Northern Ireland Office

– Kwasi Kwarteng to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union

This is a breaking story. More to follow… 

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