"Therese Coffey is a truly dreadful communicator. Truss has surrounded herself with duds”.
‘What is the point of having a deputy prime minister’, wrote one person on Twitter after listening to Therese Coffey this morning being quizzed on a range of pressing issues, including the state of the financial markets, the lack of affordable housing and pay rises for nurses.
As MPs return to Parliament today, Coffey was sent out to bat for the government and its failed programme which has done nothing to tackle the cost of living crisis and calm the financial markets, while presiding over deepening inequality and poverty.
Asked on Sky News about instability on the financial markets, Coffey replied: “It’s news to me”. That response came as the Bank of England widened its emergency bond buying and warned of a material risk to financial stability. A self-inflicted crisis as a result of the government’s disastrous mini-budget.
The Deputy Prime Minister was also asked about nurses balloting to strike for the first time in 106 years and whether she was going to do anything about it, to which she set out that the government was confident that nurses would not be getting another pay offer. She does however seem completely relaxed about policies which lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses.
The Royal College of Nursing wants nurses to be given a pay rise in line with the rate of inflation, which is currently 10.1%.
In July, the government awarded most NHS staff a pay rise of at least 4.5%, which it said gave many workers a £1,400 salary increase.
Coffey was also asked by presenter Kay Burley why the government was planning on ditching targets for affordable homes, to which she replied: “I’m not aware of any of that… You’ll have to ask Simon Clarke”, adding she was not aware of specific policies, to which she had to be reminded, she is deputy prime minister after all.
Also appearing on LBC today, she was asked by presenter Nick Ferrari why she voted against the outlawing of smoking in cars containing children, to which she replied: “Probably because I don’t think it is the right to be doing to be telling parents how to handle the situation.” A rather worrying response from someone who is also health secretary.
Reacting to her responses, Alastair Campbell wrote: “Therese Coffey is a truly dreadful communicator. Truss has surrounded herself with duds”.
John Nicolson MP tweeted: “The Prime Minister has been very clear”. ‘You’ll have to talk to another minister.’ And ‘poor people are richer than you think.’ Headlines from Therese Coffey #r4today interview.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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