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Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey replaces Amber Rudd in Cabinet

PUBLISHED: 09:51 08 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:05 08 September 2019

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has been appointed as Work and Pensions Secretary after the resignation of Amber Rudd. Picture: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has been appointed as Work and Pensions Secretary after the resignation of Amber Rudd. Picture: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has been appointed to replace Amber Rudd in Government - just hours after Ms Rudd stunned Westminster by quitting the Cabinet and Tory Party.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promoted Dr Coffey to become Work and Pensions Secretary.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has promoted Dr Coffey to become Work and Pensions Secretary.

Elected in 2010, Dr Coffey is a former deputy Commons leader and was appointed as environment minister by Theresa May.

Her predecessor Ms Rudd resigned after suggesting the Government was aiming to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

Following the announcement, Ms Rudd tweeted: "Congratulations to my good friend @theresecoffey on her appointment as Secretary of State @DWP. I know she will do an excellent job in a first rate department."

Dr Coffey responded: "Huge thanks Amber and you will be a hard act to follow."

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First elected to Parliament in 2010, Dr Coffey's Cabinet appointment is the culmination of more than four years' ministerial experience under three prime ministers.

After backing Remain in the 2016 referendum, she later voted in favour of former prime minister Theresa May's failed Withdrawal Agreement.

Writing on her website earlier this month, Dr Coffey outlined her belief in now honouring the referendum result.

She said: "I hope that progress can be made on securing a future agreement with the EU for a smooth exit but, as I have long argued and voted for, being clear that we will leave without a deal if necessary, we must respect the 2016 referendum result."

Following Mrs May's resignation, Dr Coffey backed Boris Johnson's Tory leadership bid, saying he had "the mojo to make Brexit happen and he can reach out to many parts of the country to deliver a better, brighter Britain".

Dr Coffey's ministerial career was temporarily put on hold in May last year after an ear infection spread to the left side of her brain and started to affect her memory.

She told this newspaper that she underwent an emergency operation after the infection went "disastrously wrong".

She is the second Suffolk Coastal MP to be appointed to the cabinet, following in the footsteps of predecessor John Gummer, now Lord Deben.

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