David Gauke brings a second Ipswich voice to cabinet table

Neil Watts (left) with David Gauke at Northgate School.

Neil Watts (left) with David Gauke at Northgate School.

Ben Gummer isn’t the only voice from Ipswich at the cabinet table – he will be joined by former Northgate student David Gauke, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

And while Mr Gummer attends Cabinet, but is not a full member, Mr Gauke is a fully-fledged Cabinet Minister – completed with a seat on the Privy Council and the Rt Hon title.

He was born in Ipswich and went to state schools in the town – he was at Northgate High School before going on to St Edmund Hall at Oxford University.

Mr Gauke’s deputy head during his time at Northgate was Neil Watts, who became a family friend . . . and later head of the school.

Mr Watts said: “At school David was always very courteous and helpful. He was a very hard worker – and one of the first to move into the new sixth form centre when it opened.

“I was deputy head at the time before moving to Sudbury as headteacher – and when I returned to Northgate (as headteacher) his mother was my secretary, and remained in that role until I retired.

“I kept in close touch with David, and acted as a referee for him when he first applied to become a parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives.”

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Mr Gauke has been MP for South West Hertfordshire since 2005, and a minister at the Treasury since the Coalition was formed in 2010.

He has moved through the ranks – from Economic Secretary to Financial Secretary and now to Chief Secretary who is effectively number two to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and in charge of government spending.

But it was at Northgate that he got his first taste for a parliamentary life, said Mr Watts: “The first time he went to Westminster it was as part of a school trip. He was always interested in economics and did government and politics in the sixth form.

“David is a real example of someone who has come through state education to reach the highest levels of government – and he’s never lost touch with his Ipswich roots. We’re still in touch and he still feels a great deal of affection for his time at Northgate.”