Minister John Hayes: “One has admirers and one has to cope with that”

I had my suspicions before yesterday, but now I'm sure of it. John Hayes is not real. He is an actor playing a minister from a Michael Dobbs novel.

Confirmation came yesterday with one of the most verbose performances ever given to a select committee of MPs.

Hayes of course is the man who caused waves recently after saying 'enough is enough' to the spread of windfarms. Coming over all churchillian he added at the time: 'I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem, but I can protect our green and pleasant land'.

The comments led to a slap-down from his Lib Dem boss, energy secretary Ed Davey, and a raft of stories on coalition splits over wind power.

After almost three hours of a Climate Change Committee hearing yesterday, it seemed that Hayes would not even mention the spat. But then, with moments to go, he reached into his briefcase and produced a bundle of letters backing his stance.

'You won't be surprised to know that as a result of my long standing views on the matter of aesthetics, and in particular in this case wind, I have received many letters and emails of support,' he told the committee.

Asked whether they were letters in support of coalition policy, he was having none of it. He went on: 'They are letters of admiration for me. I hesitate to say that because it seems to be incendiary but one has admirers and one has to cope with that.'

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Hayes later said: 'I hesitate to focus too much on my own achievements.

'As you know I was recently made minister of the year. I didn't want to have to mention it.'

Whoever it was that made Hayes minister of the year, thank you.