David Gauke considering run for Treasury committee chair

The former justice secretary could enter the race to succeed Nicky Morgan on a platform of opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

NS

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David Gauke could stand for the vacant chairmanship of the Treasury select committee, the former justice secretary has told the New Statesman.

Gauke, who quit the government with Theresa May in order to oppose a no-deal Brexit from the backbenches, confirmed a Yahoo! report that he was considering a run to replace Nicky Morgan, who was promoted to Culture Secretary last week.

Having served in a succession of roles at the Treasury between 2010 and 2017, and subsequently at Work and Pensions and Justice, Gauke arguably boasts the strongest ministerial CV of any of the Conservatives in the running. He was a corporate solicitor in a financial services firm before entering Parliament as MP for South West Hertfordshire in 2005.

The NS understands Gauke would pitch himself to MPs as the candidate best placed to oppose no deal and hold Boris Johnson to account on Brexit. Sources close to him stressed, however, that he had not come to a final decision on whether to stand.

Four other Conservative MPs have already confirmed to the NS that they will be candidates: former Brexit minister Steve Baker, sacked Foreign Office minister Harriett Baldwin, former International Trade minister Mark Garnier, and Justine Greening, the former education secretary.

Stephen Hammond, another junior minister sacked by Johnson last week, has also said he is considering standing. The voting system is preferential, and it is likely that a majority of votes will prevent an explicit Leaver from winning. But with so many Remainers standing, the identity of the winner could come down to fine margins. 

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent.