Therese Coffey denies being ‘part-time’ Health Secretary

·2-min read
Newly installed Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey leaving Downing Street, London (PA) (PA Wire)
Newly installed Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey leaving Downing Street, London (PA) (PA Wire)

Liz Truss’ closest ally Therese Coffey has denied that her role as Deputy Prime Minister meant she was only a part-time Health Secretary.

Ms Coffey has her own office in No 10 and plays a key role at the heart of the new Prime Minister’s administration.

But she insisted the NHS plan being set out on Thursday showed she was focused on her job as Health and Social Care Secretary.

Ms Coffey has an office in Downing Street previously used by the No 10 director of communications, in a sign of how closely she is working with Ms Truss.

“What we’re doing is working together so that the Prime Minister has at hand the person who’s in charge of the money, that’s the Chancellor, but also the Chief Whip, and indeed me as Deputy Prime Minister,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Ms Coffey said she “will be chairing things like the Home Affairs Committee and different elements like that” within Government.

“I’m here to support the Prime Minister deliver on what she set out to the Conservative Party membership and to the country during the summer.”

Good Morning Britain presenter and former Labour cabinet minister Ed Balls said he had turned down a similar dual role under Gordon Brown because he wanted to focus on his then job as children’s secretary.

Asked if it was possible to do both of her jobs properly, she told him: “I’m conscious that in two weeks we’ve already pulled together our plan for patients and we will continue to develop that.”

She added: “I don’t think it will be a case of being part-time… We don’t have fixed working hours.

“We continue to do what we do right across Government in order to make sure we function effectively as a Government and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”