Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Zoe Crowther
13 November 2023
UK Government reshuffle: Thérèse Coffey resigns

Thérèse Coffey

UK Government reshuffle: Thérèse Coffey resigns

Thérèse Coffey has handed in her resignation as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as Suella Braverman's sacking triggers major changes.

Ex-health and social care secretary Steve Barclay will now take the role, with Victoria Atkins taking up the health porfolio.

Coffey was previously health secretary under Liz Truss's premiership, but was appointed as environment secretary when Rishi Sunak became prime minister in October 2022. In a letter to the prime minister, Coffey said she was proud of the work she had done in government.

"Having been a minister since July 2014, and having served all five Conservative prime ministers, I consider it is now the right time to step back from government," she wrote.

In his response, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote: "I want to express my gratitude to you for your years of dedicated ministerial service and your friendship to me personally."

Her department faced criticism for not putting in place adequate protections when flooding by storms Babet and Ciaran this autumn devasted parts of the UK and destroyed farmers' crops. Defra admitted the Environment Agency had been ill prepared for "rain from the east".

Tom Parker Bowles, the son of Queen Camilla and a food writer and critic, posted on X on Monday morning: "Please say Coffey has gone. Please. Please." 

In the major cabinet reshuffle, Suella Braverman was sacked as home secretary, to be replaced by former foreign secretary James Cleverly. Former prime minister David Cameron has been appointed as the new foreign secretary, in a shock move by No 10.

Rachel Maclean has also been sacked from her role as Minister of State for Housing and Planning in a major reshuffle, saying on X that she is "disappointed".

A senior Conservative MP told PoliticsHome: "Remember all reshuffles are about patronage, the only thing that matters is who you support in a leadership contest.

"That and nothing else. Nothing to do with ability or views."

Nick Gibb, Neil O'Brien, Will Quince, Jesse Norman, and Jeremy Quin have all resigned as ministers across the health, transport, education, and Cabinet Office departments.

Read more on PoliticsHome.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe



Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top