Amid accusations of ‘bribery’, Theresa May knights a Brexiteer MP who didn’t revolt

John Hayes and Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

On 23 November, Downing Street announced a knighthood for Conservative MP John Hayes. This followed an article in the Times, claiming there was speculation Hayes may soon be “granted a knighthood”, if he remained loyal to Theresa May as prime minister.


According to Tim Shipman’s article, one MP said:

The whips are offering bribes of knighthoods and peerages to get people to go around telling people to back the prime minister or we will get Corbyn.

A tweet from Shipman put news about Hayes’ knighthood and his Times story side by side:

In fact, quite a lot of people noticed the “coincidence” between the timing of his knighthood and the recent Brexit chaos:

Apparently, it also drew criticism from some Conservative MPs:

While others spoke out about Hayes’ ‘principles’:

According to several reports, Hayes is a known Brexiteer but hasn’t submitted a letter of no confidence in May’s leadership.

As Sky News reported, Hayes’ knighthood stoked speculation that Downing Street has “started handing out baubles”. Because it also announced that Conservative MP Christopher Pincher and Labour MP Mark Tami would join the Privy Council.

“This stinks”

Of Hayes’ knighthood, shadow cabinet office minister Chris Matheson said:

Labour MP Jo Stevens also said it “stinks of cronyism”. Meanwhile, others argued it raises issues about the very nature of the honours system:

Earlier this month, Hayes called for the government to reintroduce the death penalty. And he’s consistently voted against gay rights, human rights, and any increase in benefits. So, some people called his appointment a disgrace:

But, even if people are right about May’s “cronyism”, it may not be enough to get her Brexit deal through and, ultimately, cling to power. Especially since there seems to be very little loyalty left among the Conservatives.

Featured images via Department of Energy – Flickr and screengrab

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