Barclay named Defra Secretary as Coffey resigns

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Former Secretary of State for Health Steve Barclay has been named as the new head of Defra.

The appointment follows the resignation of Therese Coffey who announced she would be ‘stepping back from Government’ amid the Prime Minister’s emergency reshuffle.

Ms Coffey had presided over an increasingly under fire department since her arrival in October 2022 with complaints against her department from continued outrage over water pollution to an admission the Environment Agency was ill prepared for ‘rain from the east’ which has seen thousands of acres of crops destroyed in storms Babet and Ciaran.

Mr Sunak thanked Ms Coffey for her friendship and for all her hard work in both Defra and the Health department. It is not yet known who will replace her.

In her resignation letter, the Suffolk Coastal MP said it had been ‘a privilege’ to serve in the Cabinet, ‘delivering for the people, planet and prosperity’ over the past three years.

She paid tribute to Defra saying it was the ‘guardian of nature, food security and our countryside communities’. She then went on to list her achievements with the department boosting sustainability in ‘food and farming and championing the countryside’.


Jane Thynne | Farmers Guardian

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