David Gauke
Official portrait, 2017
Secretary of State for Justice
Lord Chancellor
In office
8 January 2018 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byDavid Lidington
Succeeded byRobert Buckland
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
11 June 2017 – 8 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byDamian Green
Succeeded byEsther McVey
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
14 July 2016 – 11 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byGreg Hands
Succeeded byLiz Truss
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
15 July 2014 – 14 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byNicky Morgan
Succeeded byJane Ellison
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
In office
13 May 2010 – 15 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded bySarah McCarthy-Fry
Succeeded byPriti Patel
Member of Parliament
for South West Hertfordshire
In office
5 May 2005 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byRichard Page
Succeeded byGagan Mohindra
Personal details
David Michael Gauke

(1971-10-08) 8 October 1971 (age 52)
Ipswich, Suffolk, England
Political partyIndependent (2019–present)
Other political
Conservative (until 2019)
SpouseRachel Gauke
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford
University of Law

David Michael Gauke (/ɡɔːk/; born 8 October 1971) is a British political commentator, solicitor and former politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for South West Hertfordshire from 2005 to 2019. He served in the Cabinet under Theresa May, most notably as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor from 2018 to 2019. First elected as a Conservative, Gauke had the Conservative whip removed on 3 September 2019 and until the dissolution sat as an independent politician.

Gauke served in the Cameron Government as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from 2010 to 2014 and Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 2014 to 2016. During the formation of the May Government in July 2016, he was appointed to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, where he remained until being appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2017. Gauke was appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor in January 2018.[1] He resigned on 24 July 2019 following the Conservative Party leadership election.

Early life and career

Gauke was educated at Northgate High School in Ipswich, Suffolk. He read law at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and the College of Law in Chester, where he graduated in legal practice in 1995.

In 1993, he was a researcher for Barry Legg, the Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South West. He worked as a trainee solicitor with Richards Butler from 1995, being admitted as a solicitor in 1997. From 1999 to 2005, he was a solicitor in the financial services group at Macfarlanes,[2] a corporate law firm.

Gauke was elected as the vice-chairman of the Brent East Conservative Association for two years from 1998, and contested the seat at the 2001 general election finishing in second place 13,047 votes behind the Labour MP Paul Daisley.

Parliamentary career

Gauke was elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election for Hertfordshire South West following the retirement of Richard Page. Gauke won the seat with a majority of 8,473, making his maiden speech on 9 June 2005.[3] Between 2005 and 2008, he served as a member of the Procedure Select committee. He was a member of the Treasury Select Committee between 2006 and 2007, before joining the Opposition front bench as Shadow Treasury Minister.

Following his re-election at the 2010 general election, he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

In December 2013, Gauke was reported to HM Revenue and Customs after advertising an unpaid six-month "training post" at his constituency office in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.[4]

After four years in the post of Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Gauke moved to become the Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

On 13 July 2016, Gauke was made a member of the Privy Council,[5] giving him the style The Right Honourable. The following day, he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury following the appointment of Theresa May to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

On 11 June 2017, Gauke was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, leaving the Treasury after seven years.

On 8 January 2018, Gauke succeeded David Lidington as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor.[6] He is the first solicitor to have held the post.[1]

On 8 June 2019, following Gauke's "refusal to enact the commitments made in the Conservative manifesto"[7] and his supporting the leadership candidacy of Rory Stewart in favour of persisting with May's withdrawal agreement, his constituency association wrote to all members calling a special meeting for a vote of no-confidence.[8][9]

On 20 July 2019, Gauke confirmed to The Sunday Times that he would resign as Secretary of State after Prime Minister's Questions on 24 July 2019, citing that he could not serve Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and run the risk of pursuing a no-deal exit from the European Union.[10][better source needed] Gauke and other similarly minded MPs became known in the media as the "Gaukeward Squad".[11][12]


Gauke claimed £10,248.32 in stamp duty and fees involved in the purchase of his second home in London, a flat. A Channel 4 Dispatches programme revealed that he was claiming expenses on the flat in central London despite having a property located only one hour away on public transport.

Gauke sold the flat in August 2012, keeping £27,000, the property price having increased by £67,000 since purchase. He paid nearly £40,000 of this to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) as MPs only have to pay back any profit made in the previous two years.[13]

He told the British public that negotiating a price discount with tradesmen for paying in cash for the purposes of evading tax is morally wrong.[14]

Sitting as an independent

Main article: September 2019 suspension of rebel Conservative MPs

On 3 September 2019, Gauke joined 20 other rebel Conservative MPs to vote against the Conservative government of Boris Johnson.[15] The rebel MPs voted with the Opposition to seize control of parliamentary business from the government, allowing the subsequent passage of the Benn act. The government had declared that voting against the original motion would be viewed as a matter of confidence in the government, as voting in favour of the motion would effectively be "destroying the government's negotiating position and handing control of parliament to Jeremy Corbyn."[16] After voting against the government on a "confidence-issue," all 21 were advised that they had lost the Conservative whip,[17] expelling them as Conservative MPs and requiring them to sit as independents.[18][19] If they decided to run for re-election in a future election, the party would block their selection as Conservative candidates.[16]

Gauke stood in his constituency as an independent candidate, and came second with 26% of the vote.[20] The Conservative candidate won the seat with 49.6% of the vote and a majority of 14,408 votes.


In May 2020, six months after leaving Parliament, it was announced that Gauke was re-joining Macfarlanes as their head of policy.[21] He is also a political commentator and a columnist for the New Statesman where he writes about British and international politics from a liberal centrist perspective.

Personal life

Gauke is married to Rachel (née Rank), who is a professional support lawyer specialising in corporate tax at legal research provider LexisNexis.[22] They have three sons and live in Chorleywood in Hertfordshire.[23]

He is a lifelong supporter of Ipswich Town F.C.[24]


  1. ^ a b Cross, Michael (8 January 2018). "Gauke named as first solicitor lord chancellor". Law Society Gazette. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  2. ^ Your fate in their hands, Legal Week, 18 November 2004
  3. ^ House of Commons Debates for 9 June 2005 Archived 11 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine UK Parliament
  4. ^ Gil, Natalie (13 December 2013). "Minister reported to own department for advertising unpaid post in his office". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ Government of the United Kingdom (13 July 2016), Privy Council appointments: Arlene Foster, Ruth Davidson, David Gauke and Ed Vaizey, archived from the original on 14 July 2016, retrieved 16 July 2016
  6. ^ "David Gauke moves from work and pensions to become justice secretary". The Guardian. 8 January 2018. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  7. ^ Craig, Jon (29 June 2019). "David Gauke: Justice secretary survives no-confidence vote by local Conservative party". Sky News.
  8. ^ "Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart: I have enough MPs' support to get to first round". CityAM. 7 June 2019. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  9. ^ "MP faces confidence motion from Conservative association - and his two-word response over influence claim". Watford Observer. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  10. ^ Shipman, Tim (20 July 2019). "BREAKING: David Gauke tonight confirms that he will resign from the cabinet next Wednesday after PMQs because he can't serve Boris Johnson while he pursues no deal. Tells the Sunday Times he fears it would lead to national "humiliation"". @ShippersUnbound. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  11. ^ Kuenssberg, Laura (18 July 2019). "'Gaukeward' squad joins fight against no deal". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  12. ^ Capurro, Daniel (23 July 2019). "Who are the Gaukeward Squad and how far will they go to stop Boris Johnson getting a no-deal Brexit?". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 6 September 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  13. ^ Claire Newell, Holly Watt and Christopher Hope (16 November 2012). "Minister in cash row keeps £27,000 profit from sale of second home". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Paying tradesmen cash in hand morally wrong, says minister". BBC News. BBC. 24 July 2012. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  15. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/03/commons-showdown-looms-in-battle-over-no-deal-brexit-live?page=with:block-5d6ed2f58f0845a5dab7cc88#block-5d6ed2f58f0845a5dab7cc88 Archived 4 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine, MPs back move to allow bill to block no-deal Brexit by majority of 27
  16. ^ a b Mikhailova, Anna (4 September 2019). "Boris Johnson to strip 21 Tory MPs of the Tory whip in parliamentary bloodbath". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  17. ^ "What is removing the whip, filibustering and other Brexit jargon?". BBC Newsbeat. 4 September 2019. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Whips". Parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Boris Johnson to seek election after rebel Tories deliver Commons defeat". Archived from the original on 3 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Hertfordshire South West parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  21. ^ Hyde, John (1 May 2020). "Gauke back at Macfarlanes six months after leaving parliament". Law Gazette. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  22. ^ Biography of Rachel Gauke Archived 26 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, LexisWeb.co.uk
  23. ^ "Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury: David Gauke MP". HM Treasury. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  24. ^ Biography of David Gauke Archived 3 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, conservatives.com