Early life and educationBarclay was brought up in Lancashire. His father worked as a full-time trade union official and then in IT, and his mother worked full-time as a civil service administrator. He is the youngest of three brothers, all of whom played rugby. Barclay was educated at King Edward VII and Queen Mary School, King Edward VII School, an independent school in Lytham St Annes. After completing his GCE Advanced Level, A levels, he joined the British Army on a Gap Year Commission, attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and served as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for five months. His is the first generation of his family to go to university, and he read history at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He then studied at the Chester University of Law, College of Law campus, to qualify as a solicitor in 1998.
Early careerBarclay completed his training contract as an articled clerk with a large London law firm before working at a royal exchange, AXA, Axa Insurance, the Financial Services Authority, and Barclays.
Parliamentary careerAfter leaving university in 1994, Barclay joined the Conservative Party. He was a member of A-List (Conservative), the A-List and was twice an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate, contesting Manchester Blackley (UK Parliament constituency), Manchester Blackley in 1997 United Kingdom general election, 1997 and Lancaster and Wyre (UK Parliament constituency), Lancaster & Wyre in 2001 United Kingdom general election, 2001, coming within 500 votes of winning the latter seat. In 2007, Barclay took over as the organiser of the Carlton Club political dinner, which raises funds for the Conservative Party's target seats. Barclay was selected in January 2008 to replace the outgoing North East Cambridgeshire MP, Malcolm Moss, and was elected at the 2010 United Kingdom general election, May 2010 general election with a majority of 16,425. After the election, he was soon elected by fellow MPs to become a member of the Public Accounts Committee (United Kingdom), Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises government spending. Conservative Home named him as one of a minority of loyal Conservative backbench MPs not to have voted against the government in any substantive rebellions. Following the appointment of Theresa May to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Barclay was appointed as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. In June 2017, Barclay joined HM Treasury as the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. In January 2018, he joined the Department for Health and Social Care as the Minister of State for Health.
Secretary of State for Exiting the European UnionBarclay was appointed as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union in November 2018 following the resignation of Dominic Raab. It was reported that Barclay would focus on the domestic preparations rather than negotiations for Brexit. He retained his role as Brexit Secretary in Boris Johnson's First Johnson ministry, first and Second Johnson ministry, second cabinets. He ceased to be Brexit Secretary at 11:00 pm on 31 January 2020, the moment the Department for Exiting the European Union was closed down as the UK formally left the EU.
Chief Secretary to the TreasuryBarclay was appointed as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in February 2020, replacing Rishi Sunak who had been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer following the resignation of Sajid Javid. In May 2020, Barclay appeared on BBC's ''Question Time (TV programme), Question Time'' and was corrected by presenter Fiona Bruce about the number of people who had received the government's COVID-19 testing.
Chancellor of the Duchy of LancasterIn 2021 British cabinet reshuffle, a cabinet reshuffle on 15 September 2021, Barclay succeeded Michael Gove as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office.
Personal lifeBarclay and his wife Karen have a son and a daughter.