South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes has started his new job as second-in-command at the Home Office.
Fresh from his victory at the polls last Thursday, Mr Hayes was named Minister of State for Security by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, with responsibility for counter-terrorism, organised crime and security intelligence.
Mr Hayes had only just started settling into his new job when he was called to a meeting of the National Security Council yesterday with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss plans to combat what Mr Cameron called “poisonous extremist ideology”.
“It’s obviously a great thrill and a great honour to be a senior minister at the Home Office and the brief I’ve been given couldn’t be more important,” Mr Hayes said.
“It will take a while to get to understand it, to meet all the new people I’ll be working with and to make a difference.
“But I was appointed very early in the process by the Prime Minister with whom I had a discussion about the work I’d done, both with him and for him.
“The Prime Minister then went to outline his plans for more emphasis on the serious and significant parts of the security agenda, including crime, counter-terrorism and all the secret things that come with working alongside the security services and police.”
Top of Mr Hayes agenda is to help draw up new laws to tackle extremism that are set to be part of a new counter-terrorism bill unveiled in Parliament when the Queen’s Speech takes place on May 27.
But Mr Hayes will also be in charge of enforcing measures outlined in the new Modern Slavery Act to stop home trafficking by allowing courts to hand out tougher prison sentences to modern day slave drivers.
“The Modern Slavery Act is a landmark in legislation designed to respond to a changing, growing and frightening phenomena in our country,” Mr Hayes said.
“There are issues around modern slavery and organised crime in this area and there’s a reach across every part of the UK, overlapping into broader security issues.
“We all benefit from national security, but one of the things I’ll be looking at is what further capabilities we’ll need, weighing it up against the evidence of risk to national security.”
Despite his new role, Mr Hayes vowed to stay a “hard-working, dedicated constituency MP.”