Former chancellor Philip Hammond has ruled out making a bid for the vacant position of chair of the Treasury select committee, City A.M. has learnt.
On Thursday evening a source close to Hammond said the former chancellor was contemplating the move, saying: “He hasn’t ruled it out.”
However, a spokesperson for Hammond poured cold water on the suggestion, saying it was “categorically untrue”.
The committee vacancy arose when previous chair Nicky Morgan was appointed culture secretary by Johnson in his drastic shake-up of the government’s top team.
While Hammond has ruled himself out, former Brexit minister Steve Baker is planning a bid for the job.
On Thursday, Baker rejected an offer from new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to return to the Brexit department, where he served for seven months before resigning in protest at Theresa May’s Chequers plan.
After meeting Johnson in Downing Street, Baker tweeted: “I cannot repeat my experience of powerlessness as a junior [Brexit] minister with the work done in the Cabinet Office.
“I have total confidence in Boris Johnson to take us out of the EU by 31 Oct.
“Disaster awaits otherwise.”
Baker confirmed to City A.M.he will be seeking the Treasury committee chair post, and already has the support of committee member Simon Clarke.
“He would be exceptional,” said Clarke.
Other Tory MPs considering a tilt at the position include former education secretary Justine Greening, ex-universities minister Sam Gyimah, and Mark Field, who served as an international trade minister for two years.
Greening told City A.M. it was “highly likely” she would be putting her name forward for the role, while Gyimah said he was mulling it over.
Labour MP Alison McGovern, who serves on the committee, said: “I think people who have been backbenchers for some time have a better chance to be honest.
“They need to be able to stand up to the government on Brexit and be independent minded.”
Committee chairs are elected by MPs from across parliament, but the posts are allocated along party lines – meaning only Tories are eligible for the Treasury committee post.