Willy warrior

4th August 2000 at 01:00
WELCOME aboard John Hayes, new Tory education spokesman who is a qualified teacher to boot. Anti-abortion, anti-Europe and pro-hunting, he can be relied upon to win friends and raise the level of debate if past form is anything to go by.

John has made two notable contributions to parliamentary life since he was elected in 1997. One was speaking up during a debate on English strawberries which the Lincolnshire MP fears are being ousted by tasteless Euro strawberries and their American cousins.

The other was to shout so aggressively at Tony Blair throughout prime minister's questions, that a furious Betty Boothroyd threatened to expel him.

Parliamentary sketch writers duly dubbed him Hooligan of the Wek.

Hayes, who joins Theresa May's team, is a solid Hague-ite who reckons Willy is more Tory than Thatcher. Naturally, he's also an enemy of political correctness, hates feminists and was accused of trying to make capital from Peter Mandelson's outing by demanding the then trade secretary adopt a tone of "contrition and humility".

But his knack for diplomacy goes back further. He was self-confessedly unpopular at Nottingham University, thanks to his pro-apartheid and anti feminist views.

"You could have counted the people on campus more unpopular than myself on the fingers of a thalidomide victim's hand," he once confessed. That should make him a dead cert for the special needs brief, then.

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