John Hayes MP, Energy Minister, a new Boris with the eloquence of Demosthenes and the common good written on his heart
By Tim Montgomerie
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The Prime Minister may not have come out of the last 24 hours particularly well but new Energy Minister John Hayes has had a good energy shambles. I wonder if a new star has been born? How many readers have seen (watch this Guardian clip from just after two minutes in), heard or read about John Hayes' performance at the despatch box yesterday? It took the breath away. The sketchwriters all feasted on his performance. Here is a selection of what they wrote...
Donald Macintyre in The Independent: "When the Labour MP Nick Smith congratulated the minister on his "chutzpah" before asking him if his Department had advised No 10 against the very policy Mr Cameron had announced 24 hours earlier, he said (astoundingly given the notoriously bad relations between his Energy colleagues and George Osborne) that it had "a wonderful relationship" with No 10 and the Treasury: "I say, with appropriate modesty, that that relationship has improved still further since my arrival."
The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts was equally amazed: "‘Alacrity and the defence of the common good – the heart of all I do,’ he said at one point, practically clutching his right breast and removing a tear from his eye. ‘Clarity is the prerequisite of certainty, certainty is the prerequisite of confidence and confidence is the prerequisite of investment,’ he said, quite unscripted... The Government would act ‘in weeks, rather than months’. He raised his chin and scanned the Chamber to ensure that it shared his astonishment at the Executive’s sense of urgency."
Michael Deacon in The Telegraph wondered if Mr Hayes was a new Boris: "You could almost take him for a junior Boris, except that Mr Hayes is in fact six years older than Mr Johnson. And, if anything, Mr Hayes seems even more showmanlike. Everything he says sounds like a joke, but you aren't always sure whether it’s meant to."
The Speaker loved it too; at one point atrributing "the eloquence of Demosthenes" to the Minister. Ending the session Mr Bercow declared: "I think it is a fair summary to say that the House has enjoyed the scrutiny process over the past half hour." They really had. MPs shouted "More!".