Thérèse Coffey steps down as environment minister

Thérèse Coffey has resigned from her role as environment minister in charge of  the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), amid a wider cabinet reshuffle.

Writing to the prime minister Rishi Sunak she wrote: “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 continued: “I have strengthened the foundations for Defra to deliver here in the UK and globally, such that this government has achieved more than any other to protect the planet”.

She also said she is “confident” the government can “deliver on sustainability and strengthen both our farming and fishing sectors”.

In his response prime minister Rishi Sunak thanked the outgoing minister for her work, including the Farm to Fork Summit and championing the rural economy.

“You have driven work across government to support the rural economy and taken measures to protect food production here at home,” he wrote.

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It comes after Thérèse Coffey faced criticism earlier this year for failing to do enough to tackle the problem of water companies releasing sewage into waterways.

Just last week fresh data shared by the Liberal Democrats revealed that Thames Water pumped 72 billion litres of sewage water into the river over the course of three years.

The minister also received criticism of her motion to amend housebuilder pollution laws, and for describing them as “unavoidably burdensome”.

Last month the government u-turned on its plans to scrap the laws after campaigners criticised the move and called for the rules to be put in place in order to protect nature.

Coffey’s resignation comes as the prime minister has faced criticism on his government’s approach to the environment, with campaigners and opposition politicians lambasting his series of recent net zero u-turns.

Nature and the environmentNewsPolicy

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