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Tough day ‘at the office’ for Barclay as colleagues refute bullying claims

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Health Secretary and NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay is facing some of the toughest moments of his political career as he faces down allegations of bullying and trying to deal with nurses’ pay claims.

The allegations of bullying surfaced last night in an article in the Guardian newspaper.

The paper claimed to have spoken to “six separate sources”, all of whom had “raised concerns about Barclay’s behaviour”.

The paper quoted one source as claiming this had resulted in “a lot of unhappy people at the Department of Health just now”.

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Other sources told the newspaper that officials in Mr Barclay’s private office had “borne the brunt” of his outbursts

Another source told the Guardian: “Barclay’s style is very macho … He would say that he’s forensic. But in reality, he’s a micro-manager. He hauls people over the coals and is generally a bit unpleasant.”

“Everyone finds him quite challenging,” said a third source.

Today, however, the foreign secretary James Cleverly was robust in his defence of Mr Barclay.

Mr Cleverly said he had worked with Mr Barclay “on a number of occasions.

“He has made a statement making it absolutely clear that there have been no reports.

“His statement is clear and completely unambiguous, and I am completely convinced that that is accurate.”

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Mr Barclay has not yet issued a statement publicly about the allegations.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The department has not received any formal complaints relating to the behaviour of its ministers.

“Any complaints, relating to ministers or members of staff, would be investigated in line with departmental guidance.”

Meanwhile the health secretary is embroiled in a bitter dispute over nurses’ pay that includes court action today to try and prevent a new strike.

Royal College of Nursing members are getting ready to walk out but Mr Barclay is using the courts to try and declare part of their actions unlawful.

As far as constituency affairs are concerned, it is business as usual for the MP.

“Whittlesey Town Council has been awarded £7,400 by the National Lottery Community Fund to help celebrate the King’s Coronation,” he announced today.

“The funding will be used to create a community garden and host a one-day event to mark the coronation.

“More than £3million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to communities across the UK so they can come together in celebration with grants from £300 to £10,000.

“I’m delighted that Whittlesey has scooped a share of funding in the project which aims to bring different generations together and promote local groups, charities, and volunteering.

“The coronation is one of those moments of national importance and I hope communities across the constituency will come together to celebrate in whichever way they choose.”

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