Still no decision on David Gauke's future as MP for South West Hertfordshire
The fate of David Gauke as MP for South West remains unclear, with his local party believed to be readying themselves to select a new candidate.
Mr Gauke has been MP for the area since 2005, and has one of the largest majorities of any MP in the House Of Commons.
However he lost the Conservative Party whip after joining 20 other rebel Conservative MPs to vote against the Conservative government, effectively blocking plans for a 'No Deal' Brexit.
If he does not have the whip restored then Mr Gauke will not be eligible to stand for the Conservative Party, in South West Herts or any other part of the country.
According to local party sources, the party has processes in place to select a new candidate; if Mr Gauke is restored to the party whip he may or may not be re-adopted as candidate for the next general election.
Mr Gauke has not been a universally popular figure in his own local party. He has faced criticism for his outspoken position on Brexit, his numerous references to ‘pink unicorns’ - a sarcastic reference to the promises of some Brexiters’ promises of life after leaving the EU - have not been well received by some party activists. and local party members introduced a motion of no confidence in June; it was eventually defeated by 123 votes to 61.
Weeks later the MP resigned from his cabinet role as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor following the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
By September confusion reigned, with Mr Gauke being told that he had been kicked out of the Conservative Party, and shortly afterwards that was still a member but was barred from standing for election as a Tory. When contacted by the Gazette his own office could not confirm whether he was still a member of the Conservative Party.
Mr Gauke's office were again unavailable for comment this week.
If Mr Gauke does stand for election as an Independent it is not clear how much of the Conservative vote he would be able to draw. Lib Dem Sally Symington has already been selected to contest the seat, and has set out a firmly pro-Remain platform which would likely overlap with Mr Gauke's position.
This week fellow Conservatives in Hemel Hempstead confirmed that Sir Mike Penning would again be their candidate at the next election.