Many of you now will know that recently that North East businessman John Hayes sadly passed away. John was a true powerhouse in the business world and a legendary figure in the North East. I had known John and his wife Irene for a number of years going back to when Irene was Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council.

John was best known as the founder of Hays travel, a company he founded in 1980 and more recently he took on thousands of employees when Thomas Cook called in the receivers. I know that this brave act secured the future for not only the staff but also their families too. John was also known for his passion and encouragement of local North East enterprises and charities which he supported through the Hays Travel Foundation, which has made a huge positive impact on so many lives.

In Parliament I wanted to pay my own tribute to John, so I tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in honour of John and his work. I am pleased that many North East MPs and added their name in joining me with expressing their sympathy, and my thoughts are with Irene and the Hays family at this very difficult time.

The EDM can be viewed by clicking here.