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Knighted South Holland MP stands firm on Brexit

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes was honoured with a knighthood on Friday but will stay true to his Brexit ideals.

The MP, who has been a Tory front-bencher for 19 of his 21 years in Parliament, spoke of his pride in receiving the honour, not only for his family but for his constituents.

While the honour was made on the recommendation of Prime Minister Theresa May, Sir John had already made it clear to Mrs May that he cannot support key points of her Brexit deal.

The South Holland and The Deepings MP is now Sir John Hayes after being honoured with a knighthood on Friday.
The South Holland and The Deepings MP is now Sir John Hayes after being honoured with a knighthood on Friday.

Sir John says his views are unchanged since he spoke to the Free Press last week, namely this country cannot allow the European Union to dictate when the transition or the Irish backstop come to an end.

Sir John (60) heard news of his knighthood from Downing Street on Friday afternoon. His wife, Susan, becomes Lady Hayes.

The MP said: "I am just immensely proud on behalf of my family and my constituency.

"I am very proud to be MP for the area in which I live - I see it (the knighthood) as something for everyone in the area, not just for me."

He was born in humble surroundings - a council flat in London - and has held seven ministerial posts, including two spells as Minister for Transport, as well as being a special adviser to former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Sir John says: "When you travel the journey I have - from the background I come from - there is a sense of surreality.

"You think 'this can't be me, I'm just me'.

"I would never want to have a sense of entitlement."

Sir John says he feels humbled by the knighthood - and felt the same when made a CBE in 2012.

"Nothing I have achieved in my life has really changed me," he said. "I am what I am. I think I have genuinely retained my sense of awe."

Friday's announcement saw the MP trending on Twitter, topping the list with more than 1,500 tweets.

Among the first to congratulate Sir John was Suella Braverman, a minister who quit earlier this month because she could not support the PM's draft Brexit deal.


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