North East Cambridgeshire MP appointed as Economic Secretary

Steve Barclay MP ANL-161023-112631009
Steve Barclay MP ANL-161023-112631009

The Government has appointed North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay as City Minister, but is yet to decide who will be charged with overseeing Brexit’s impact on financial services after a string of departures from Number 10.

Mr Barclay - a Leave supporter during the EU referendum - takes over as Economic Secretary from the heavily criticised Simon Kirby, who lost his seat as an MP for Brighton Kemptown to Labour in last week’s election.

Mr Barclay brings City experience to the role, having worked in financial regulation and crime prevention as a director of regulatory affairs and later as the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions at Barclays retail bank.

He is also qualified as a solicitor and was a member of the Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2014, according to his website.

The MP for North East Cambridgeshire will be responsible for banking reform and regulation, and other parts of the financial services brief including asset management, insurance, and the public stake in RBS.

It is not clear whether Mr Barclay will also liaise with financial services in regards to Brexit - as those duties were transferred from Mr Kirby to Commercial Secretary Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe at the end of January amid reports that senior City executives were unhappy with Mr Kirby’s banking credentials.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe confirmed she had stepped down from Government via her Twitter account on Tuesday,

“Today I am leaving the government. May I thank all @hmtreasury @beisgovuk & @DCMS and colleagues in @UKHouseofLords for their support,” she said in a tweet.

The Press Association understands that Baroness Neville-Rolfe was involved in few face-to-face meetings with financial services throughout her term.

She had held no meetings with US banks as of the end of April, and had held no talks with Japanese banks as of May despite concerns that they would start leaving London by this summer without adequate Brexit assurances.

It is understood that Chancellor Philip Hammond had taken a lead role in Treasury meetings with foreign banks this year given the importance of financial services to the UK economy in light of Brexit.

One City source said they could not recall any discussions where her name had even been mentioned as a key contact at HM Treasury.

Lenders including Normura and Daiwa are understood to be on track to expand operations in Frankfurt as part of Brexit contingency plans.

Others including US bank JP Morgan said it plans to move up to 1,000 London jobs to Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg in a bid to secure its EU business after Brexit.