Boris Johnson’s new Chief of Staff will have three massive jobs at once in No10 ‘farce’


The sinking Prime Minister found Steve Barclay willing to do the job – but three previous Chiefs of Staff voiced doubts about whether it’ll be possible. He’s already the £67,505 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the £81,932 MP for North East Cambridgeshire

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Sinking Boris Johnson has been accused of a “farce” after he found someone willing to be his Chief of Staff – who will have two other huge jobs at the same time.

Steve Barclay was unveiled last night as the man to clean up the PM’s Downing Street operation after five aides walked out over parties and his Jimmy Savile slur.

Yet Mr Barclay is already the £67,505-a-year Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, overseeing Cabinet Office policy and appointments, the constitution and national security.

He is also the Tory MP for North East Cambridgeshire, earning another £81,932 a year.

The Mirror has asked if Mr Barclay’s third job will come with his own salary.

Steve Barclay will be an MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and No10 chief of staff
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While most ministers are MPs at the same time, experts and Labor slammed Mr Barclay for taking on a third job usually done by a non-politician without giving up other roles.

Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell tweeted: “I can think of no democracy where the chief of staff can also be in the legislature.

“I found being No 10 chief of staff a full-time job.

“Not sure how it could be combined with representing a constituency.

Boris Johnson found someone willing to be his Chief of Staff
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“And having to go to answer parliamentary questions about the PM would be tricky.”

Theresa May ‘s former chief of staff Nick Timothy tweeted: “Barclay is very talented, but not sure having a chief of staff who’s also a minister elsewhere can work.”

Her other former chief of staff Gavin Barwell said Mr Barclay “won’t be able to do the job in the way that I (or others)” did it.

It was criticized by Tony Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell (left)
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He told Sky News: “He’s combining it with being a Government minister and an MP at the same time, so he’s going to have to find a way of doing the job in a different way.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, who is also Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Future of Work Secretary, said: “The Prime Minister has clearly run out of serious people willing to serve under his chaotic and incompetent leadership , so now expects a Cabinet minister to be his chief of staff.

“This is a farce. Being No 10 chief of staff is a 24/7 job.

“If Steve Barclay is taking it on as his third job then Tory MPs and the public can have no confidence that the dysfunction in Downing Street will come to an end.”

The Institute for Government’s Dr Catherine Haddon suggested that if Mr Barclay was staying in his Cabinet Office role, “this is not a chief of staff”.

Steve Barclay when he was Brexit Secretary, pictured with Boris Johnson in the Commons
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She said: “Either he’s a chief of staff and CDL (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) responsibilities will be neglected.

“Or he’s de facto deputy PM (despite Raab’s title) and you’re lacking a chief of staff.”

Labor MP Chris Bryant, who is also chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards, tweeted: “I don’t understand how an MP can be a chief of staff at Drowning Street [sic], either democratically, legally or logically.”

Former Axa insurance lawyer and dad-of-two Mr Barclay was born in 1972, the son of a union official and civil servant, and grew up with three brothers who all played rugby.

He went to the £12,000-a-year King Edward VII school in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, and studied history at Cambridge. He spent his gap year in the army – serving with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

He was a director at Barclays Bank and a financial regulator before he became an MP.

After trying and failing to join Parliament twice, as far back as 1997, he was finally selected for his safe seat and won in 2010.

He was promoted to a government whip under David Cameron in 2015 before rattling through junior ministerial jobs – first at the Treasury, then at the Department of Health, then as Brexit Secretary.

Lord Barwell warned even if “diligent” Steve Barclay does the job well, Boris Johnson might ignore him – like he did when aides warned him not to falsely accused Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute the paedophile Jimmy Savile.

He added: “There’s only so much different advisors can make if the person at the top is not actually listening to the advice that we’re giving.”

Mr Johnson also announced long-term ally Guto Harri, who worked with the Prime Minister at City Hall when he was Mayor of London, would become his director of communications.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng defended triple-hatting Mr Barclay, saying: “He’s a very hard-working person”.

The PM will hope the changes are enough to win around wavering backbench Tory MPs who are considering over the weekend whether to submit letters of no confidence.

Reports suggest the threshold of 54 letters could be reached this week.

Former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith gave only lukewarm backing to the PM today in a BBC interview.

Asked if the party can recover with him in charge, he replied: “None of us know the answer to that question”.

Asked if Mr Johnson was the right person to lead the Conservatives into the next election, he replied: “I do at the moment”.

But Sir Iain insisted it was not the right moment for a leadership election as tackling the cost of living crisis should be the first priority. He added: “My instinct at the moment is most colleagues still take the view we’ve got to sort this out.”




www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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