Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has bowed out of life on the front bench after the longest current spell as a minister - and revealed how it nearly cost her life.

The former Environment Secretary bowed out of government in Rishi Sunak's reshuffle this week that saw the sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman and the return of former PM David (now Lord) Cameron.

Dr Coffey has been a minister since 2014 - the longest continuous service at present - but in 2018 she was laid low by an infection.

East Anglian Daily Times: Former PM David CameronFormer PM David Cameron (Image: PA)

She said: "I had been very busy at work and was really run-down and was totally knocked out by an infection. I spent a month in hospital and it really was difficult."

At the time she was Minister of State at the Environment Department - and while her illness did make her reassess her life, it didn't stop her career.

A year later she was appointed Work and Pensions Secretary - and she has been in the cabinet ever since including six weeks as Deputy Prime Minister under Liz Truss.

But now she is looking forward to returning to the back benches: "I will have more time to spend in the constituency and representing the voters in the House.

"I should have more freedom to take up constituency issues - it's not as easy to take up issues like the environment or energy concerns when you are a minister. 

"I am looking forward to having more freedom to do that from now on."

And she is looking forward to continuing that work - earlier this year she was readopted to contest the next election and is hoping for many more years as a backbench MP.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bury St Edmunds MP Jo ChurchillBury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill (Image: Newsquest)

Meanwhile Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill was promoted from the Whips Office to become Number Two at the Department of Work and Pensions where she becomes Minister of State - one rung below Cabinet rank.