Out of the blue, Stephen Barclay has been thrust into the role of Brexit Secretary.

No 10 was keen to point out that the unexpected appointee, who represents North East Cambridgeshire, voted Leave in the 2016 referendum but was also keen to point out that his role would not be the same as his predecessor Dominic Raab.

Now that the negotiating phase of the withdrawal agreement is over, Mr Barclay’s role is to lead on the “domestic delivery” of Brexit in the context of preparing for it whether there is a deal or no deal, particularly in terms of getting the necessary legislation through Parliament. So, the new Secretary of State will be spending all of his time at Westminster and not Brussels.

Before yesterday, no one had tipped Mr Barclay as the new Secretary of State but the role is no longer as important as it once was and when Britain leaves the EU next March it is possible the job will no longer exist.

The youngest of three brothers, his father was a trade union official while his mother worked in the civil service.

Raised in Lancashire, he attended an independent school and before studying history at Cambridge and then law in Chester, he used a gap year to attend the military academy at Sandhurst, serving briefly as a second lieutenant with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

As a qualified solicitor, the 46-year-old father-of-two worked for a London law firm and became an MP in Cambridgeshire in 2010, having failed twice in previous contests in Manchester and Lancaster.

Under Theresa May’s premiership, Mr Barclay has risen quickly through the ranks, becoming at first a whip, then Economic Secretary to the Treasury and then as Minister of State for Health before rising to his new Cabinet role.