Steve Barclay has been appointed the new Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He replaces Therese Coffey, who has been in the role since October 2022. The change is one of many in PM Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle, after the sacking of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.
Therese Coffey handed in her resignation this morning, stating she was proud of her work as Environmental Minister. In her letter, she wrote, "Having been a minister since July 2014, and having served all five Conservative Prime Ministers, I consider it is now the right time to step back from government."
During her time as Environmental secretary, Coffey introduced the Simpler Recycling scheme, bans on single-use plastics, and has overseen the planned deployment of £20 billion to Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS). However, she also came under much scrutiny throughout her time as minister, including Defra’s handling of recent floodings and her role in the sewage scandal back in April.
Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, became Health Secretary last year but will now replace Coffey. In terms of his views on the environment, in 2019 he voted against a motion to bring forward “a green industrial revolution to decarbonise the economy and boost economic growth.” Barclay has told reporters he is “very much looking forward” to taking on the role. He is the fifth Secretary of State for the Environment since 2020.