No 10 has come out in support of MP John Hayes after claims by a national newspaper he was fired from his job as energy minister – allegations he describes as “complete rubbish”.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the South Holland and Deepings MP was demoted to parliamentary adviser to David Cameron after losing his job for “secretly plotting to persuade an electricity boss to challenge government policy”.
The article said: “Climate change sceptic Mr Hayes had asked the head of power giants E.on to warn of blackouts unless the Coalition watered down its green crusade and made a U-turn on the closure of coal-fired generators.
“But Mr Hayes’s boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, hit the roof when he heard about the ‘treachery’ – and demanded he was sacked.
“Two weeks later, Mr Hayes was dismissed and given a minor backroom role in No 10, advising David Cameron on links with with Tory MPs.”
The article ended by claiming the Mail on Sunday had established Mr Hayes was demoted after he secretly met E.on chief executive Tony Cocker on March 13.
However, yesterday (Monday) a furious Mr Hayes said he had been straight on the phone to the Mail on Sunday to ask why the newspaper published an article that was “full of untruths from top to bottom” and why the reporter responsible had not contacted him for a response to the allegations.
Mr Hayes said: “It’s complete rubbish from top to bottom.
“The meeting was a routine one I had with the energy company.
“When I was energy minister, I would regularly talk to energy companies and those meetings were certainly not secret – they were official meetings with civil servants present.
“I am proud of the work I did there to curb the spread of wind turbines around our area and elsewhere.
“My move to No 10 had been arranged before the date mentioned in the article, which also proves it was untrue.
“Obviously when I was promoted it was a great honour. I am involved in all strategic government meetings.
“When David Cameron appointed me he made it quite clear that, if I chose to, I could remain Minister of Energy and that I was under no pressure to accept.
“But obviously the chance to be part of the core team was great and a chance I did not want to miss.”
Susie Squire, Tory press chief, said Mr Hayes had No 10’s full support. She said: “He sits in on daily meetings with the PM and we value him highly.”