Reshuffle: Leadsom and Coffey join Defra ministerial team

Andrea Leadsom has replaced Elizabeth Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, and Dr Thérèse Coffey MP replaced Rory Stewart MP, who became a Minister of State in the Department for International Development, in Defra. Also within Defra, George Eustice MP remains in place and Lord Gardiner was promoted from a Defra spokesman to a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.

ADA has been quick to make contact with the new Ministerial team at Defra. Our Chairman, Henry Cator, has written to both Andrea Leadsom and Thérèse Coffey welcoming them to their new roles and expressing our hopes to work closely with them both on matters relating to the management of water levels. ADA hopes to meet with both Ministers in the near future and has invited them to visit a lowland area with critical drainage infrastructure to explain the essential role of our members. You can find a short biography about both new members of the Defra team below.

Outside of Defra key changes include, David Davis heading a new Brexit Department as Secretary of State for leaving the European Union, and the merger of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) into a new ministry – the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, under Secretary of State Greg Clark. Nick Hurd has been appointed as the new Climate Change Minister.

ADA Northern Branch President, Andrew Percy MP for Brigg and Goole has been appointed as Minister of State for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse within the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Finally, Oliver Letwin, who had agreed to speak at the ADA Conference on Thursday 17 November, is no longer Cabinet Office Minister. ADA will be looking to confirm the speakers for this year’s Conference soon.

The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Mrs Leadsom was elected as Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010. She read political science at Warwick University and worked in the banking and finance industry for 25 years, most recently as Head of Corporate Governance and Senior Investment Officer at Invesco Perpetual, one of the UK’s largest retail fund managers.
Andrea served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from April 2014 until May 2015 before the last general election and then as Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change from May 2015 until July 2016.

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dr Coffey was Suffolk’s first female MP when she succeeded John Gummer as MP for the Suffolk Coastal constituency in 2010. She studied Chemistry at Somerville College Oxford and gained her PhD at University College, London.

After University Dr Coffey worked for Mars Inc. and qualified as a chartered management accountant. In 2007, Dr Coffey became finance director for Mars Drinks UK. In 2009 she stood down to fight an unsuccessful campaign to become an MEP. She then worked as a property finance manager for the BBC for a time.

As an MP she has chaired the All-Party Group on Coastal and Marine and held office on other groups such as beer and renewable and sustainable energy. From May 2015 until July 2016 Thérèse Coffey served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.

Responding to a tweet from ADA welcoming Dr Coffey to her new role she said that she was very familiar with the work of Internal Drainage Boards, especially East Suffolk IDB who have been helping to rebuild and repair coastal defences around the Suffolk estuaries following the November 2013 tidal surge.