Thérèse Coffey to head DWP after Amber Rudd exit

James Philips reports...

Night view of Big Ben and Westminster Bridge in London

Thérèse Coffey has taken over as secretary of state for work and pensions after the resignation of Amber Rudd.

After being reappointed to the post in July, during Boris Johnson’s post-election reshuffle, Rudd leaves the office after 296 days in office.

Coffey joins the Department for Work and Pensions after three years at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, where she had been a junior minister for environment and rural opportunity.

Becoming the seventh work and pensions secretary since the 2015 general election, she has also been Conservative MP for Suffolk Costal since 2010, and has a 16,000-vote majority.

Rudd has also resigned the Conservative party whip, with plans to stand at the next election as an independent Conservative candidate.

In a letter sent to the prime minister on Saturday evening (7 September), Rudd cited both his approach to Brexit negotiations and the treatment of party rebels.

She said: “I no longer believe leaving with a deal is the government’s main objective. The government is expending a lot of energy to prepare for ‘no deal’ but I have not seen the same level of intensity go into our talks with the European Union…”

She also said she had to address the “assault on decency and democracy that took place last week when you sacked 21 talent, loyal one nation Conservatives”.

“This short-sighted culling of my colleagues has stripped the party of broad-minded and dedicated Conservative MPs,” she went on. “I cannot support this act of political vandalism.”