John Hayes plays hardball with Number 10 after bizarre Brexiteer lobbying
A Labour MP preferred to quote WB Yeats at the former Conservative minister.
The latest bad news for Downing Street is that Tory MP John Hayes does not appear to have been won over by last week’s impromptu knighthood.
Number 10 got accused of a return to Cameron-style cronynism after Friday’s surprise elevation. The timing of Hayes’s gong, outside the usual honours cycle, prompted accusations the prime minister was abusing her patronage to try to buy loyalty.
But Hayes told the Mail on Sunday: “As I’ve made very clear before my honour, I cannot support the deal as it now stands.”
It’s not clear whether some slightly strange lobbying by Tory Brexiteers persuaded the Tory MP to turn on the PM. Mark Francois had sent a sarcastic letter hailing hailing Hayes and the Brexit deal. The leading member of the European Research Group said the MP should consider commissioning a coat of arms to go with his new honour.
"It’s obviously entirely up to you but could I cheekily suggest a crest with an utter cock rampant on one side and a big chicken on the other," he wrote.
Labour MP Kevin Brennan went for a slightly more scholarly approach, stating that “one thing I have in common with Tory MP John Hayes is a love of WB Yeats - so I offer him these lines”.
Writing on Twitter after Hayes had set out his stall, he quoted a poem that was written when Ireland was divided over England's offer of a peace treaty:
They must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of a base intent;
Pull down established honour; hawk for news
Whatever their loose fantasy invent
Anyone interested in the work of Yeats will be aware that this verse is widely seen as a commentary about the evils of partisan politics…