Thérèse Coffey

Thérèse Coffey
Coffey in 2017
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
Michael Gove
Preceded by Rory Stewart
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
Preceded by John Gummer
Majority 16,012 (27.6%)
Personal details
Born Thérèse Anne Coffey
(1971-11-18) 18 November 1971[1][2]
Billinge, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
University College London

Thérèse Anne Coffey MP (born 18 November 1971) is an English Conservative Party politician who was first elected as the member of parliament for Suffolk Coastal constituency at the 2010 general election. She retained her seat at the two successive elections in 2015 and 2017.

Early life and career

Coffey was born on the 18 November 1971 in Billinge, Lancashire, and grew up in Liverpool. She attended St Mary's College, Crosby, St Edward's College, Liverpool,[1] Somerville College, Oxford,[3] and then University College London, where she was awarded a PhD in Chemistry in 1998.[4][5]

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).[6]

In the European Parliament elections in June 2004, Coffey stood for election to the European Parliament for the South East region of England[7]. The Conservative Party won 35.2% of the vote, giving them 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 them four seats, but she was fifth on the party list.[8]

Parliamentary career

After being selected on 6 February 2010 to stand as Conservative candidate in the Suffolk Coastal constituency, Coffey moved from Hampshire to Westleton.[9][10][11] The 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.[12] She owns a flat and partly owns a house, both in Hampshire,[13] 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.[14] She is a supporter of the Free Enterprise Group.[15]

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 of the newspaper 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.[16] However, she later joined the majority of her party in voting for exemplary damages to be a default consequence to deter press misbehaviour.[17]

Frontbench career

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.[18] In July 2014 she was appointed Assistant Government Whip.[19]

She was appointed Deputy Leader of the House of Commons on 11 May 2015.[20]

In the House of Commons she sits on the Environmental Audit Committee and has previously sat on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.[21]


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."[22]

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

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.” [26]

In January 2016, Coffey was one of 72 MPs who voted down an amendment in Parliament on rental homes being “fit for human habitation” who were themselves landlords who derived an income from a property.[27]

Personal life

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.[20][29]


  1. 1 2 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. Coffey, Therese Anne (1998). Structural and reactivity studies of Bis(imido) complexes of molybdenum (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 557362689.
  4. Biodata on Coffey
  5. "Politics section Therese Coffey: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian.
  6. "2004 Election Candidates". European Parliament Liaison Office.
  7. The Telegraph European elections 2009 South East region
  8. Biodata on Coffey, ibid.
  9. West Sussex Conservatives website
  10. Conservative Party blogsite
  11. Evening Star
  12. Property holdings
  13. BBC Election Results
  14. Free Enterprise Group
  15. The Guardian 2 May 2012
  16. The Public Whip Retrieved 26 March 2013
  17. "Dr Thérèse Coffey MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  18. "Thérèse Coffey". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  19. 1 2 "Thérèse Coffey MP – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  20. "Therese Coffey". Parliament UK. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  21. Porrit, Richard. "Suffolk Coastal: MP stands by proposals to force pensioners to pay NI". East Anglain Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  22. Robinson, Craig. "MP faces criticism at heated forest meeting". East Anglain Daily Times. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  23. "Therese Coffey MP, Suffolk Coastal voted strongly for the policy Sell England's Public Forests". Public Whip. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  24. "'No sell-off' for public forests". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  25. Lo, Joseph (27 October 2016). "Tory MP Criticised After Accepting Trips To Horse Racing From Ladbrokes". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  26. "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  27. "Commons call for Kenny Dalglish knighthood". BBC News. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  28. "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 30 Jan 2014 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Gummer
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal
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