HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Last week, after seven-and-a-half years in Ministerial Office and more than 18 as a front bench spokesman under five party leaders, I resigned from the Government to return to the backbenches.
Since then, colleagues across the political divide, those with whom I have worked in Government, and constituents alike have offered warm, good wishes. I want to thank them humbly for their touching praise and kindness.
Reflecting on my time as a Minister in six Government departments, I remember with pride what has been achieved.
Having guided through Parliament a number of significant pieces of legislation – including the Energy Bill, the Infrastructure Bill, the Investigatory Powers Bill – which, as Acts, continue to have effect in the national interest, I know what difference can be made by a determined Minister.
I established Highways England in 2014 and – by initiating new design panels for road and rail – helped to ensure that future infrastructure projects will provide not only utility, but — at their essence — beautify where we go and what we see.
Devising and delivering the policy to rejuvenate vocational education gave me particular pleasure. Freeing Further Education Colleges and creating three million new apprenticeships has allowed more people than ever before, by learning a trade, to boost their chances.
All this brings to mind the Persian king who famously asked his wise men for a single expression appropriate in all situations. The wise men replied simply: “This, too, shall pass.” Their maxim holds true for almost all eventualities, and certainly applies to politics.
From childhood, my ambition was to leave the world better than I found it by becoming an MP, so getting the chance to advance arguments and make laws.
So it has always been my greatest joy to represent and champion — as the Member of Parliament for South Holland and the Deepings — the area in which my family and I live. My commitment to my constituents is – as it always has been – that I will devote the greatest effort to defending those with greatest need, striving always to be fierce in defence of the gentle. Now I shall be able to do so with new freedom and zeal.