UK Politics

David Cameron moves John Hayes 'to bolster backbench links'

John Hayes
Image caption John Hayes is to be minister without portfolio.

A mini-reshuffle designed to "bolster" Prime Minister David Cameron's links with backbenchers has been carried out.

Energy Minister John Hayes is to move to be a Cabinet Office minister, becoming the prime minister's parliamentary adviser with a remit to act as a link man with backbench MPs.

A No 10 source said Mr Hayes was "a popular figure with the parliamentary party... who gets on with" Mr Cameron.

Business Minister Michael Fallon adds Mr Hayes's energy role to his brief.

Mr Cameron has suffered a series of rifts with a sizeable portion of his backbenchers over Europe, gay marriage and Lords reform.

But the No 10 source rejected suggestions Mr Hayes's appointment demonstrated difficult current relations between the prime minister and the parliamentary party.

Since moving into the job last September, Mr Hayes has had high profile differences at the Department for Energy and Climate Change with the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, Ed Davey.

The highest profile of their differences was over policy covering onshore wind turbines, with Mr Davey telling MPs in November he disagreed with Mr Hayes on the issue and insisting he was "in charge" of coalition energy policy.

Downing Street believes that Mr Fallon's appointment will give energy "a strong business focus".

More on this story