Therese Coffey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Therese Coffey
Therese Coffey, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.jpg
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Life Opportunities
Assumed office
17 July 2016
Prime Minister Theresa May
Sec. of State Andrea Leadsom
Preceded by Rory Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
11 May 2015 – 17 July 2016
Prime Minister David Cameron
Leader Chris Grayling
Preceded by Tom Brake
Succeeded by Michael Ellis
Member of Parliament
for Suffolk Coastal
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Majority 18,842 (33.9%)
Personal details
Born Therese Anne Coffey
(1971-11-18) 18 November 1971 (age 45)[1][2]
Billinge, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
University College London
Religion Roman Catholic[3]
Scientific career
Thesis Structural and reactivity studies of Bis(imido) complexes of molybdenum (1998)

Therese Anne Coffey (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 education[edit]

Therese Coffey was born in Billinge, Merseyside (then Lancashire), and grew up in Liverpool. Therese attended St Mary's College, Rhos on Sea and St Edward's College, Liverpool.[1] She studied at Somerville College, Oxford,[4] followed by University College London where she was awarded a PhD in Chemistry in 1998.[5][6]


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.[7]

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).[8]

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 four 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 four seats, but Coffey was fifth on the party list.[9]

After being selected on 6 February 2010 to stand as Conservative candidate in Suffolk Coastal, Coffey moved from Hampshire to Westleton.[10][11][12] 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.[13] She owns a flat and partly owns a house, both in Hampshire,[14] and has the tenancy of a house in Westleton.

She has supported the Aldeburgh Cottage Hospital and other small local hospitals in her constituency against the threats of cuts and closures.[15]


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]

Government appointments

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 Assistant Government Whip.[21]

She was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Commons on 11 May 2015.[22]


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."[23]

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.".[24] Although Dr Coffey voted for the bill,[25] the proposal has since been dropped by the government.[26]

Coffey has also been criticised 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". However Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "Accepting gifts from Ladbrokes at the same time as supporting reductions in gambling safeguards looks very shady. The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals which Ms Coffey is so keen to defend are highly addictive and have been shown to destroy lives and suck money out of deprived communities.” [27]

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.[28] She is a keen fan of the rock band Muse.[22][29]


  1. ^ a b COFFEY, Dr Therese Anne. Who's Who. 2011 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Therese Coffey MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Coffey, Therese Anne (1998). Structural and reactivity studies of Bis(imido) complexes of molybdenum (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 557362689. 
  6. ^ Biodata on Coffey
  7. ^ Curzon Supper Club blogsite
  8. ^ "Polictics section Therese Coffey: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ The Telegraph European elections 2009 South East region
  10. ^ Biodata on Coffey, ibid.
  11. ^ West Sussex Conservatives website
  12. ^ Conservative Party blogsite
  13. ^ Evening Star
  14. ^ Property holdings
  15. ^ Coastal Scene, 8 June 2015.
  16. ^ BBC Election Results
  17. ^ Free Enterprise Group
  18. ^ The Guardian 2 May 2012
  19. ^ The Public Whip Retrieved 2013-03-26
  20. ^ "Dr Thérèse Coffey MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  21. ^ "Thérèse Coffey". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  22. ^ a b "Thérèse Coffey MP - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  23. ^ Porrit, Richard. "Suffolk Coastal: MP stands by proposals to force pensioners to pay NI". East Anglain Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  24. ^ Robinson, Craig. "MP faces criticism at heated forest meeting". East Anglain Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Therese Coffey MP, Suffolk Coastal voted strongly for the policy Sell England's Public Forests". Public Whip. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "'No sell-off' for public forests". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  27. ^ Lo, Joe. "Tory_MP_Criticised_After_Accepting_Trips_To_Horse_Racing_From_Ladbrokes". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Commons call for Kenny Dalglish knighthood". BBC News. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 30 Jan 2014 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Gummer
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal