Wigan-born Therese Coffey appointed as second-in-command to new Prime Minister Liz Truss

The new deputy prime minister was born in Wigan, it has been revealed.
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Regarded as Liz Truss’s closest friend at Westminster, Billinge-born Therese Coffey has landed a central role in the new Prime Minister’s administration.

As well as being appointed as health and social care secretary, Ms Coffey has become Ms Truss’s second-in-command as deputy prime minister.

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The 50-year-old former work and pensions secretary was widely expected to be rewarded with a key job in the cabinet, having thrown her weight behind Ms Truss’s Tory leadership bid early on.

Therese Coffey leaving Downing Street after meeting the new Prime Minister Liz TrussTherese Coffey leaving Downing Street after meeting the new Prime Minister Liz Truss
Therese Coffey leaving Downing Street after meeting the new Prime Minister Liz Truss
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The pair’s alliance is thought to stretch back to their post-university politics days and was cemented when they were both elected as MPs of near-neighbouring eastern England constituencies in 2010.

They have a state education in common, as well as studies at Oxford, though several years apart.

Another thing the duo share is their love of karaoke, with Ms Coffey known to host boozy Westminster singalongs for MPs and staff.

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She came under fire when a video of her and welfare minister Will Quince singing (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life at the Conservative Party conference surfaced in 2021.

Labour called the timing of the performance – as the £20-a-week universal credit uplift was being slashed – “an insult and a disgrace”.

She also drew criticism for defending Boris Johnson on media rounds, including denying his knowledge of harassment allegations against Chris Pincher before he was appointed deputy chief whip.

Apart from broadcast appearances and karaoke sessions, Ms Coffey is said to be a private person.

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As well as being a music and football enthusiast – she is a Liverpool fan – Ms Coffey reportedly enjoys a cigar.

Born in 1971 in Billinge, Ms Coffey went to school in Liverpool before heading to Oxford and then University College London to do a PhD in chemistry.

Before entering politics, she worked in finance for confectionery giant Mars and on the corporate side of the BBC.

She made two failed attempts to enter the European Parliament before securing the safe Tory Suffolk Coastal seat in 2010.

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A Catholic, Ms Coffey voted against same-sex marriage and extending abortion rights in Northern Ireland.

She landed her first government role in 2012, holding various posts including junior minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.