Thérèse Coffey has been named as Defra secretary of state in new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first cabinet.
Coffey, who was Deputy Prime Minister and health secretary in Liz Truss’s brief government, replaces Ranil Jayawardena, who was similarly only in the role a few weeks.
Coffey was secretary of state at the Department for Work and Pensions from September 2019 to September 2022. She returns to Defra having had a short stint as a minister between July and September 2019, and having been parliamentary under secretary of state between July 2016 and July 2019.
The University College London chemistry PhD graduate was elected Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal in May 2010, with her other roles having included serving as deputy leader of the House of Commons for a year from 2015-16 and on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
Outside of politics the Campaign for Real Ale member qualified as a chartered management accountant, before becoming finance director for a UK subsidiary of Mars, and has also worked at the BBC.
On news of Coffey’s appointment, the NFU tweeted: “Congratulations to
@theresecoffey on being appointed the new @DefraGovUK Secretary of State. We look forward to working with you to ensure British farming can continue to thrive and supply the nation with high-quality, climate-friendly food.”