Thérèse Coffey

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Dr Thérèse Coffey

Thérèse Coffey MP.jpg
Coffey in 2019
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Assumed office
8 September 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byAmber Rudd
Minister of State for Environment and Rural Opportunity[1]
In office
17 July 2016 – 8 September 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byRory Stewart
Succeeded byRebecca Pow
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
11 May 2015 – 17 July 2016
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byTom Brake
Succeeded byMichael Ellis
Member of Parliament
for Suffolk Coastal
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byJohn Gummer
Majority20,533 (35.2%)
Personal details
Thérèse Anne Coffey

(1971-11-18) 18 November 1971 (age 48)[2][3]
Billinge, Lancashire, England
Political partyConservative
Alma materSomerville College, Oxford
University College London

Thérèse Anne Coffey (born 18 November 1971) is an English Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Suffolk Coastal constituency since the 2010 general election. She retained her seat at successive elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Coffey currently serves as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, since her appointment in September 2019.

Early life and career[edit]

Coffey was born on 18 November 1971 in Billinge, Lancashire, and grew up in Liverpool. She attended St Mary's College, Crosby,[4] St Edward's College, Liverpool,[2] Somerville College, Oxford,[5] and then University College London, where she was awarded a PhD in Chemistry in 1998.[6][7]

Coffey stood as Conservative Party candidate for the Wrexham constituency, in Wales, at the 2005 general election. She came third with 6,079 votes (20% of the vote).[8]

In the European Parliament elections in June 2004, Coffey stood for election to the European Parliament for the South East region of England.[9] The Conservative Party won 35.2% of the vote, giving it four seats, but Coffey was seventh on the list in this proportional representation system, meaning that she failed to be elected.

In 2009, at the next European elections, Coffey was living in Andover, Hampshire; she missed out by one place on being elected to the European Parliament for the South East region. The Conservative Party won 34.79% of the vote, giving it four seats, but she was fifth on the party list.[10]

Parliamentary career[edit]

After being selected on 6 February 2010 to stand as Conservative candidate in the Suffolk Coastal constituency, Coffey moved from Hampshire to Westleton.[11][12][13] The Rev. David Miller, vice-chairman of the local Liberal Democrats, raised questions over the status of her residency there, claiming with reference to her Westleton property that "The address at which Ms Coffey currently resides is a holiday let".[14] She owns a flat and partly owns a house, both in Hampshire,[15] and has the tenancy of a house in Westleton.

At the general election on 6 May 2010 she won the Suffolk Coastal seat, becoming the constituency's first female Member of Parliament. Coffey received 25,475 votes (46.4% of the vote), an increase of 1.8% on John Gummer's 2005 campaign.[16] She is a supporter of the Free Enterprise Group.[17]

On 6 July 2011, she defended Rebekah Brooks over the News of the World's involvement in the news media phone hacking scandal. She said a "witch hunt" was developing against Brooks, and that simply to say Brooks was editor of the newspaper at the time was not enough evidence against her. Coffey became a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the hacking scandal in 2012. In that committee, she declined to support any motions critical of Rupert and James Murdoch.[18] However, she later joined the majority of her party in voting for exemplary damages to be a default consequence to deter press misbehaviour.[19]

Frontbench career[edit]

Coffey was a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee from July 2010 to October 2012, when she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Energy.[20] In July 2014, she was appointed an Assistant Government Whip.[21]

In 2013 she voted against the legalisation of same-sex marriage. She would do so again in 2019 when Parliament considered the same question for Northern Ireland.[22][23]

She was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Commons on 11 May 2015.[24]

In the House of Commons she sits on the Environmental Audit Committee and has previously sat on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.[25]

Coffey's decision to author a paper for the Free Enterprise Group recommending pensioners should be forced to pay National Insurance provoked a backlash among older constituents, who claimed that in an already tough economic environment, it was wrong to tax pensioners further. However, she said that she had "no regrets writing about National Insurance" and that it was "a policy proposal – it is by no means, at this stage, anymore than that."[26]

Coffey also faced criticism from Suffolk residents over her support for the Government's proposal to sell off forestry and woodland in public ownership, in 2011. Protestors argued that "previous experience shows us that when private landowners come in they close car parks and make access as difficult as possible."[27] Coffey voted for the bill,[28] but the proposal was afterward dropped by the government.[29]

In October 2016, she was criticised by the then Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron for accepting hospitality worth £890 from Ladbrokes after supporting the gambling industry in parliament as part of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Coffey denied that she had been "influenced in her considerations on matters of related policy by any hospitality received".[30]

In January 2016, an amendment intended to force rented homes to be maintained as "fit for human habitation" was defeated in parliament. Coffey was one of the 72 MPs voting against it who were themselves landlords who derived an income from a property.[31]

Personal life[edit]

An avid football fan, she supports Liverpool F.C., and signed the Early Day Motion set down by Labour Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram requesting a knighthood for Kenny Dalglish.[32] She is a keen fan of the rock band Muse.[24][33]



  1. ^ Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (2016–July 2019)
  2. ^ a b Anon (2011). "Coffey, Dr Therese Anne". Who's Who. (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U251482. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Therese Coffey MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Celebrated Alumni". St Marys College. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Coffey, Therese Anne (1998). Structural and reactivity studies of Bis(imido) complexes of molybdenum. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 557362689. EThOS
  7. ^ "Biodata on Coffey". Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Politics section Therese Coffey: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "2004 Election Candidates". European Parliament Liaison Office.
  10. ^ "European elections 2009: South East region". 26 May 2009 – via
  11. ^ "Biodata on Coffey, ibid". Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Therese Coffey selected for Suffolk Coastal". ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog.
  14. ^ Dines, Graham. "Tory hits out in row over her home address". Ipswich Star.
  15. ^ "Property holdings". Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  16. ^ "BBC News - Election 2010 - Constituency - Suffolk Coastal".
  17. ^ "Free Enterprise Group".
  18. ^ The Guardian 2 May 2012
  19. ^ The Public Whip Retrieved 26 March 2013
  20. ^ "Dr Thérèse Coffey MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Thérèse Coffey". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Therese Coffey MP, Suffolk Coastal". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  23. ^ "Liz Truss handed equalities ministerial role". 10 September 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Thérèse Coffey MP – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Therese Coffey". Parliament UK. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  26. ^ Porrit, Richard. "Suffolk Coastal: MP stands by proposals to force pensioners to pay NI". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  27. ^ Robinson, Craig. "MP faces criticism at heated forest meeting". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Therese Coffey MP, Suffolk Coastal voted strongly for the policy Sell England's Public Forests". Public Whip. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  29. ^ "'No sell-off' for public forests". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  30. ^ Lo, Joseph (27 October 2016). "Tory MP Criticised After Accepting Trips To Horse Racing From Ladbrokes". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  31. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". The Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Commons call for Kenny Dalglish knighthood". BBC News. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  33. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 30 Jan 2014 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 2 July 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Gummer
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal
Preceded by
Amber Rudd
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions