Anti-no deal MP David Gauke in the running for treasury select committee chair

Britain's Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor David Gauke arrives to attend the weekly meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street in central London on July 23, 2019. - Theresa May chaired her last cabinet meeting ahead of the Conservative Party announcement of who will replace her as head of the party and prime minister. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
David Gauke, served as justice secretary under Theresa May government. Photo: Getty

Former justice secretary David Gauke is thought to be planning a run for the treasury select committee chairmanship, which is set to be vacated by Nicky Morgan following her return to cabinet.

Morgan took the Treasury role in July 2017, and has recently been appointed to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Boris Johnson’s first reshuffle.

Multiple potential anti-no deal candidates were touted by MPs, including former health minister Stephen Hammond, former business secretary Greg Clark and former universities minister Sam Gymiah.

Gauke, Clark and Hammond have discussed promoting a single candidate who will have the best chance of winning.

Four other Tory MPs have declared themselves as running to the New Statesman: Steve Baker, Mark Garnier, Harriett Baldwin and Justine Greening.

Baker is a committed eurosceptic supportive of Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy, which is likely to alienate opposition MPs. Baldwin and Garnier are also seen as too aligned to the government over Brexit strategy, which is likely to undermine their candidature.

Garnier is seen as the biggest threat to a europhile chairship by pro-EU MPs, hence the desire for a uniting candidate.

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There is an eagerness among pro-EU Labour MPs for a Conservative chair who shares their viewpoint on Brexit.

Labour MPs discussing the race with Yahoo Finance UK said they were concerned with a repeat of how Morgan “went soft” on the government over Brexit while angling for a Cabinet position.

Despite the desire for one, pro-EU candidates there seems to be some uneasiness with Greening’s candidacy.

One Labour MP who is leaning towards Greening described her as “determined”, however raised concerns about her popularity among MPs and how that may affect her hopes in the election.

Greening’s early declaration may force Hammond and Gauke into not running, and ensuring a unity candidate.

But Hammond and Gauke are seen as the two most viable options by pro-EU Labour MPs, with Hammond thought to have slight edge over Gauke at this stage.

Hammond is said to be active in the Commons tea rooms, securing high profile supporters, and is set to discuss his fledgling candidacy with former first secretary of state Damian Green on Wednesday.

One Labour MP said a Gauke chairship “would be quite a powerful buttress against the executive and that is what parliament needs to do to take back control”.