Barclay 'taking my son out' when Boris called to offer new job

STEVE BARCLAT (one use only - do not use again)

Steve Barclay (left) with Boris Johnson at PMQs in the Commons today - Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Steve Barclay was taking his son out last Friday when he took a call from Boris Johnson inviting him to become the prime minister’s chief of staff. 

But the NE Cambs MP would not reveal whether the accepted on the spot or waited until the following day when the news leaked. 

“As some of you may have noticed in the news, it has been a busy week,” he said tonight.  

“On Friday evening, whilst taking my son out and about in the constituency, I received a call from the Prime Minister asking me to take on new ministerial responsibilities as his chief of staff.” 

It is “part of a wider set of changes within Government”. 

The country was coming out of the pandemic, adjusting to living with Covid-19 and “clearing the backlogs and getting the economy back up to full speed”. 

He said: “When I was first elected as the MP for NE Cambridgeshire, I remember people telling me that they felt we were the ‘forgotten Fens’. 

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“And that their voice was not heard by successive governments, whose investment rarely got beyond Cambridge.” 

As an MP he had focused on addressing that issue “whether it be helping to attract the recent £8.4 million investment into March High Street, discussing a possible new youth club in Chatteris last Friday, or promoting my annual literacy campaign ‘Read to Succeed’”. 

He promised: “I look forward in the future to updating further on the progress being made both locally and nationally.” 

And that would involve working both as an MP and minister “to ensure that, as we come out of the pandemic, we address the issues that matter across NE Cambridgeshire”. 

Mr Barclay said progress was being made.  

He cited projects such the Kings Dyke crossing, the A47 at Guyhirn or the 3G football pitch at Leverington as examples. 

“But there remains, of course, more to do,” he said. 

“It is a sign of the progress we are making that far from being the ‘forgotten Fens’, the important issues here in NE will all be points I can continue to reinforce at the very heart of government.” 

And these would be about “creating jobs, improving skills, investing in transport and, enhancing sports facilities”.