Blog: the new Energy Minister begins his charm offensive

An eye-catching magenta tie, arms flung wide, a few breezy jokes: this was one of the first public outings of John Hayes in his new role as Energy Minister. He […]

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By Vicky Ellis

An eye-catching magenta tie, arms flung wide, a few breezy jokes: this was one of the first public outings of John Hayes in his new role as Energy Minister.

He kicked off the charm offensive at the launch of Pembroke Power Station by dispensing with a pre-prepared speech, instead seeming to freestyle a set of ‘five points’ to the lucky assembled: RWE bigwigs, npower staff and members of the local community.

His PR challenge is to win over fans: predecessor Charles ‘Charlie’ Hendry was a favourite with all sides of the industry, as nice a man as you could meet in Parliament.

But Hayes brings his own form of charisma to proceedings: the friendly but steely glint of his blue eyes, a knowing smile pulling at one corner of his mouth. A very different operator compared to Mr Hendry.

In front of the five pristine towers of Pembroke he told me he will bring to the job “clarity of purpose” and “strength of will”, two things he believes are essential in a politician.

Later on, he looked at ease amid the cluster of sharply suited men (plus one woman), who rubbed shoulders for the ribbon-cutting photo call.

Hayes has started things off easily enough with a triumphant power plant opening, in front of an audience ready to be charmed. His future gigs with the renewables crowd are sure to be tougher – although you can bet he won’t let any hint of a sweat break his outward calm.