Our new Environment Minister is a disaster (Nov22)

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this video of Thérèse Coffey, the new Secretary of State for the Environment. Actually, I felt depressed that we should be represented by someone so inept.

Coffey shows her ignorance of coffee cups

Of course, this video doesn’t just illustrate that she’s totally clueless about answering the simplest of questions relating to her new role, it shows that she’s not even at the starting blocks with understanding the issues.

Disposable cups are NOT the number one environmental issue. They’re probably not even one thousand and one on the list of climate change issues. And, it may surprise some people to know that neither is food packaging. It gets far more attention than it deserves!

After seeing this video I was hoping that it would get some media attention, so I was pleased to see an article in the Times this morning entitled: ‘Thérèse Coffey needs an ABCD to save rural Britain – Agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, and drains must be priorities if the countryside is to survive for our descendants.’ It seems that others have noticed her unsuitability as Environment Secretary, too.

Here’s a transcript of the comments I made in the Times – and a response from another commentator:

JH: ‘She’s a disaster in this role. Totally clueless. Sadly it would be politically untenable for Sunak to move her. But perhaps we can give her some training.

Mary Kennedy: ‘Too harsh. She is the MP for the constituency in which I vote., although I now live abroad, so I know a little about her. She is I believe, a good constituency MP. She inherited the constituency from John Gummer (now Lord Deben) whose environmental credentials are sans pareil, and on whom she can rely for informed opinions and guidance when and if needed. As far as her own political priorities are concerned, I would identify her as a team player with a capital T. Parliament, and the country could do with quite a few more of these.’

JH: I’m afraid I don’t agree – wonder if it’s harsh enough! She may be a good constituency MP but she’s hopeless as Environment Secretary. There are a huge number of critical issues to get your head around in this role and then key decisions to be made. We cannot afford to waste time with someone who is starting from a position of total ignorance and indifference. I know that John Gummer became very engaged in this issue – but that doesn’t mean his successor can pick up where he left off.’

OK, so what was her view on Rishi Sunak going to Cop27? She said that he will show ‘global leadership’ rather than attending ‘just a gathering of people in Egypt’! Well, that just goes to show she’s not in tune on this issue either as it seems that Rishi has done a u-turn and will now be attending! My innate optimism makes me think he might become more engaged on this issue.

But Thérèse Coffey is a lost cause. Please, please can she go where her previous boss has gone – to the back benches? We don’t want her as a cheerleader for a cause she knows nothing about. It’s too important for that.

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