John Hayes (British politician)

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Sir John Hayes

Official portrait of Mr John Hayes crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for Transport
In office
16 July 2016 – 9 January 2018
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byRobert Goodwill
Succeeded byJo Johnson
In office
15 July 2014 – 8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAndrew Jones
Minister of State for Security
In office
8 May 2015 – 15 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJames Brokenshire
Succeeded byBen Wallace
Minister without Portfolio
In office
28 March 2013 – 15 July 2014
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byThe Baroness Warsi
Succeeded byRobert Halfon
Minister of State for Energy
In office
4 September 2012 – 28 March 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byCharles Hendry
Succeeded byMichael Fallon
Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byKevin Brennan
Succeeded byMatt Hancock
Member of Parliament
for South Holland and the Deepings
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority30,838 (62.7%)
Personal details
Born (1958-06-23) 23 June 1958 (age 62)[1]
Woolwich, London, England
Political partyConservative
Susan Hopewell
m. 1997)
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham

Sir John Henry Hayes CBE FRSA (born 23 June 1958) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He has held five ministerial positions and six shadow ministerial positions.[2] Hayes served as Senior Parliamentary Adviser to David Cameron and was appointed as a Privy Councillor in April 2013, and a Knight Bachelor in November 2018.[3]

Hayes is considered a social conservative,[4] economic protectionist,[5] communitarian[6] and Eurosceptic.[7] He strongly supported Britain's withdrawal from the EU and has spoken regularly about his belief in conservative ideas and philosophy.[8] Hayes is known for speaking passionately and theatrically in the House of Commons chamber[9] and has been described as a "colourful character" who is "popular and influential on the Tory right".[10]

First elected in 1997, Hayes is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Lincolnshire constituency of South Holland and The Deepings - the safest Conservative seat in the United Kingdom.[11] South Holland delivered the nation's second-highest Leave vote in the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. 73.6% of voters voted for withdrawal from the EU, second only to neighbouring Boston.[12]

Early life and career[edit]

Hayes was born into a working-class family in Woolwich and grew up on a council estate.[13] He was educated at the Colfe's Grammar School (Lewisham) and at the University of Nottingham from where he graduated with a BA degree in politics and a PGCE in history and English. Hayes was involved in a campaign to create a pipe-smoking society affiliated to the Students' Union. He also chaired the University's Conservative Association from 1981-82 while being President of one of the residential halls, Lincoln's Junior Common Room, and served as treasurer of the University's Students' Union from 1982–83.

Hayes suffered a serious head injury in his early 20s, from which he recovered. He has focused much of his career on raising funds for research into acquired brain injury and support for those who suffer from it.[14][15]

Before entering Parliament, he was a sales director for The Data Base Ltd, an IT company based in Nottingham.[16]

He was elected to Nottinghamshire County Council in 1985 where he was the Conservative Group Spokesman on Education and Chairman of its Campaigns Committee. He served there for 13 years, standing down following his election to parliament. He contested Derbyshire North East at the 1987 general election but was defeated by Labour's Harry Barnes by 3,720 votes. He fought the same seat at the 1992 general election and although he increased the Tory vote, finished some 6,270 votes behind Barnes.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Early years (1997–2010)[edit]

Hayes was first elected to the House of Commons for the newly created seat of South Holland and The Deepings in Lincolnshire at the 1997 general election. He secured a majority of 7,991 and has been elected with increased majorities at successive elections since with swings to him of 4.4% in 2001, 4.3% in 2005 and 0.3% in 2010, increasing the Conservative share of the vote to 59.1%, so making it a safe seat for the Tories. He made his maiden speech on 2 July 1997.[citation needed]

In parliament, Hayes served on the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Select committee for two years from 1997 and two years on the education and employment committee from 1998. In 1999, he was appointed as a vice chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for campaigning by William Hague, and in 2000 continued on the frontbench as Shadow Schools Minister in the education and skills. He was appointed Assistant Chief Whip Opposition Whip by Iain Duncan Smith — for whom Hayes had been a speech writer — in 2001, before entering his shadow cabinet as the shadow Agriculture & Fisheries Secretary in 2002.[citation needed]

In 2003, after Michael Howard became Conservative leader, Hayes was appointed as Shadow Minister for Housing & Planning. He was briefly a spokesman on transport following the 2005 general election before being moved by David Cameron later in 2005 to again speak on education and skills and in particular on vocational education. He was promoted by Cameron to Shadow Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education in 2007.[citation needed]

Since 2010[edit]

On 13 May 2010, Hayes was appointed as Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning jointly at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education. On 4 September 2012 he was appointed Minister of State for Energy at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. On 28 March 2013, he was removed from the DECC and replaced by Michael Fallon. Hayes became Minister without Portfolio and Senior Parliamentary Adviser to the prime minister in the Cabinet Office. He was appointed to the Privy Council on 9 April 2013.[3]

Hayes was appointed as Minister of State at the Department for Transport in the reshuffle on 15 July 2014[17] with responsibility for national roads, Highways Agency reform and the Infrastructure Bill, and maritime issues. He is also the commons spokesman on bus policy.[16]

After the 2015 general election, Hayes was moved to the Home Office, being appointed "Minister of State, Minister for Security", with responsibility for counter-terrorism, security, serious organised crime and cyber crime, amongst other issues.[16]

In the government formed by Theresa May in July 2016, Hayes was reshuffled back to become a Minister at the Department for Transport.[18] He resigned from his post as Minister of State for Transport on 9 January 2018 during a cabinet reshuffle and was replaced by Jo Johnson.[19]

Political positions[edit]


Hayes is staunchly pro-life.[20][21] He believes life begins at conception and first joined the Society For Unborn Children aged 15.[citation needed] He was criticised by Jewish Labour MPCharlotte Nichols for 'encouraging people to "vote with Jesus"' on a vote surrounding Abortion in Northern Ireland.[22]


Hayes described Britain's withdrawal from the EU as something "I've believed in for my whole life".[23] He stated that voting Leave would provide an opportunity to "finally bring down the curtain on the Blair era".[24] Following the referendum, Hayes criticised the "stunned hysteria" of an "establishment elite" who had "never before failed to get their own way".[25]

Capital punishment[edit]

Hayes is reported as having asked the UK Government to consider bringing back the death penalty: referencing Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood, Hayes stated that: "If he had survived I think most of the British public would have been OK if he had received a fair trial and been put to death - most people would deem that appropriate.". Additionally, Hayes states that, for murder, "I say capital punishment should be a sentence available to the courts but the death penalty should not be mandatory - that's always been my position."[26]

Constitutional monarchy[edit]

Hayes is a strong supporter of constitutional monarchy, but has voiced his opinion that the monarchy must resist the "culture of celebrity".[27]


Hayes is a protectionist, rejecting "globalist free trade"[28] and stating his belief that government should "redistribute advantage".[29] He supports tariffs designed to protect "British jobs and British workers".[28] Hayes has criticised the "gig economy" and believes that only "meaningful careers that contribute to societal good" can restore economic opportunities within the local communities they exist to serve.[28] He has been a vocal critic of supermarkets, condemning their exploitation of farmers and suppliers and stating his belief that "supermarkets have decimated high streets, destroyed livelihoods and distorted the food chain".[citation needed]

Hayes is a vocal proponent of small and medium-sized businesses and has reiterated his belief that "cooperatives, mutuals and guilds that can reshape and reform our economic system".[30] He warned that the Conservative Party "must not allow itself to sleepwalk towards becoming a mouthpiece for globalist corporate business".[31]

Foreign policy[edit]

Hayes has consistently voted in favour of military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.[32][better source needed]

Safe standing[edit]

Hayes is in favour of safe standing at football stadiums.[33]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Hayes voted against same-sex marriage. In line with his socially conservative views, he believes in marriage as the lifetime union between one man and one woman.[34]

Sex and gender[edit]

Hayes has argued the Government should respond with "compassion" to those who "feel compelled to identify as the opposite sex"[35] but opposed proposals to allow individuals to change their natural gender without medical consultation.[35] He criticised "radical LGBT groups" and stated his belief that "we must reaffirm that gender has no meaning if divorced from biological facts".[35] In an article written in a local paper, Hayes argued "we should celebrate the God-given differences between men and women, enjoying the special characteristics of two naturally-ordained human types".[35]

Wind turbines[edit]

During his time as Energy Minister, Hayes clashed with Liberal Democrat coalition partners when he declared that there should be no further construction of onshore wind turbines, declaring "enough is enough".[36]


Hayes is a member of the Countryside Alliance and of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). He has served as the chairman of the All Party Group on disability and secretary of the All Party Group on brain injury. Since 2009, he has been Honorary Chairman of the British Caribbean Association.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Hayes married Susan Hopewell in 1997; they have two sons.[37]


Hayes was appointed as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in April 2013, giving him the Honorific Title "The Right Honourable" for life.

Hayes was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours for political and public service.[38]

He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in November 2018, outside the normal timing of such appointments.[39] This was an honour that was widely reported as bringing the awards system into disrepute; the supposition being that he had been offered and accepted the award in return for support for (or lack of opposition to) the Prime Minister's Brexit Draft Withdrawal Agreement.[40][41][42] However, he subsequently announced his intention to vote against the proposed withdrawal agreement anyway.[43]


  1. ^ "John Hayes web archive back up". Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) - 27 September 2012
  2. ^ "MP John Hayes talks about 20 years at Westminster and says Cameron could have stayed in office". Spalding Today. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Orders for 9 April 2013" (PDF). Privy Council Office.
  4. ^ "What is the Cornerstone group? Matthew Barrett profiles the socially conservative Tory backbench group | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  5. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Conference city has its own inspiration". Spalding Today. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  6. ^ "John Hayes MP: To inspire we must be confident about our Conservatism | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  7. ^ "John Hayes: By voting Leave, we can finally bring down the curtain on the Blair Era | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  8. ^ "John Hayes MP agrees with Sir Roger Scruton that beauty should be our principal pursuit | The Bow Group". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Tory Minister's Bizarre Speech On 'Beauty In Transport' Is Either Inspired Or Cringey". HuffPost UK. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Brexit baubles: Theresa May issues knighthood and Privy Council appointments ahead of crucial vote". Sky News. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Majority Sorted Seats". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  12. ^ "EU referendum: The result in maps and charts". BBC News. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  13. ^ "John Hayes: "I am the personification of Blue Collar Conservatism" - Conservative Home".
  14. ^ "Acquired Brain Injury Debate takes place in Parliament". 20 June 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Headway Patron John Hayes MP wins Charity Champion Award". Cambridge Network. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "The Rt Hon John Hayes". 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  17. ^ "At-a-glance: Reshuffle movers". 15 July 2014 – via
  18. ^ "Minister of State for Transport". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  19. ^ "John Hayes resigns from government". The Voice. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  20. ^ "John Hayes MP pursues Cardinal's call for abortion law reform". ConservativeHome's ToryDiary. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  21. ^ "John Hayes: Talking of threats to the Belfast Agreement, here's another – this abortion bill to be considered next week | Conservative Home". Conservative Home. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  22. ^ Nichols, Charlotte (17 June 2020). "As a Jewish Parliamentarian, I don't appreciate John Hayes MP standing outside the House of Commons library encouraging people to "vote with Jesus" on the deferred division on abortion in Northern Ireland. Many of us are religious, but manage not to force our beliefs on others!". Twitter. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  23. ^ "MP John Hayes talks about 20 years at Westminster and says Cameron could have stayed in office". Spalding Today. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  24. ^ "John Hayes: By voting Leave, we can finally bring down the curtain on the Blair Era". Conservative Home. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  25. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Respect the view of the majority". Spalding Today. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  26. ^ Withers, Paul (2 November 2018). "CRIMEWAVE BRITAIN: MP calls for return of DEATH PENALTY to tackle violent crime". Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  27. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: We must protect the Queen and all she stands for". Spalding Today. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  28. ^ a b c "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Conference city has its own inspiration". Spalding Today. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Beauty and the Built Environment". Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  30. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Embracing cooperative power". Spalding Today. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  31. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Embracing cooperative power". Spalding Today. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  32. ^ "John Hayes MP, South Holland and The Deepings - TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  33. ^ "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: The power of sport". Spalding Today. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Tory waverers press-ganged to back Cameron on gay marriage vote". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d "HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Sex and identity". Spalding Today. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  36. ^ Hope, Christopher (13 November 2012). "'Job done' on wind farms, says John Hayes". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Who's Who". 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U19581. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  38. ^ "No. 61678". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 August 2016. p. RH3.
  39. ^ "Eurosceptic Tory MP John Hayes given knighthood". BBC News. 23 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  40. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (23 November 2018). "Theresa May accused of giving knighthood to buy MP's Brexit silence". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  41. ^ Hope, Christopher; Swinford, Steven (23 November 2018). "Theresa May accused of 'cronyism' after handing knighthood to Brexit-backing MP weeks before key vote". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  42. ^ Mance, Henry; Parker, George (23 November 2018). "May hands knighthood to Eurosceptic Tory MP John Hayes". The Financial Times. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Knighted Tory MP: I still won't back May's deal". Coffee House. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament
for South Holland and The Deepings