Therese Coffey

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Therese Coffey
MP PhD
Member of Parliament
for Suffolk Coastal
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Gummer
Majority 9,128 (16.6%)
Personal details
Born (1971-11-18) 18 November 1971 (age 42)[1]
Billinge, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Somerville College, University of Oxford
Website www.theresecoffey.com

Therese Anne Coffey, Ph.D, (born 18 November 1971) is an English Conservative Party politician. She is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Suffolk Coastal constituency, having won the seat at the general election in May 2010.

Early life and career[edit]

Therese Coffey was born in Billinge, near Wigan, and grew up in Liverpool. Therese attended St Mary's College, Crosby and St Edward's College, Liverpool.[2] She studied at Somerville College, Oxford,[3] followed by University College London where she earned a PhD in Chemistry[4]

On graduation in 1997 she joined Mars, Incorporated in Hampshire as a chemist, later training as a Chartered Management Accountant, rising to hold the position of Finance director for Mars Drinks UK.[when?] As her political career progressed, she moved her work base to London, holding the position of Property Finance manager at the BBC in 2009.[5]

Political career[edit]

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

In European Parliament elections in June 2004, she failed to be elected to the European Parliament for the South East region of England. The Conservative party won 35.2% of the vote giving them 4 seats, but Coffey was 7th on the list in this proportional representation system.

At the next European elections, in 2009 then 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 them 4 seats, but Coffey was fifth on the party list.[7]

General Election - local selection as candidate

In October 2009, in her first open primary she failed to become the Conservative candidate for South West Norfolk constituency, losing to Elizabeth Truss.[8] Similarly, three months later she lost out in Spelthorne, in Surrey to Kwasi Kwarteng.[9][10]

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

Election

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]

Initial response to phone hacking investigations and subsequent position

On 6 July 2011, Coffey defended Rebekah Brooks in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Coffey said a "witch hunt" was developing against Brooks. She said that simply to say she was editor at the time is not enough evidence against her. She became a member of the Culture, Media and Sports 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]

Controversy[edit]

Coffey's decision to author a paper for the Free Enterprise Group recommending pensioners should be forced to pay National Insurance provoked backlash among older constituents, claiming that in an already tough economic environment, it was wrong to tax pensioners further. However, Mrs Coffey 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."[20]

The Member of Parliament has 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.”. [21] Although Dr Coffey voted for the bill[22], the proposal has since been dropped by the government.[23]

Personal life[edit]

An avid football fan, she supports Liverpool F.C., signing the Early Day Motion set down by Labour Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram, requesting a knighthood for Kenny Dalglish.[24]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Gummer
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal
2010–present
Incumbent