East Suffolk Councillors, including leader Caroline Topping and Rachel Smith-Lyte react to Therese Coffey’s resignation
Reaction from Green leaders has flooded in after Therese Coffey resigned from her Government position as Environment Secretary.
The announcement, which came over two hours after she first arrived at No 10 Downing Street, was followed by news of her replacement, Health Secretary, Steve Barclay.
Local councillors in East Suffolk, largely occupied by her own constituency, have begun reacting to the news.
Cllr Caroline Topping, who leads the council, said she had been ‘totally glued’ to the TV this morning and was ‘very surprised’ with the result.
Before Ms Coffey’s successor was announced, Cllr Topping had been ‘waiting with a bated breath’ and now hopes Mr Barclay will ‘sort out our rivers and our seas so that we don’t have all this sewage being dumped in them’.
Cllr Rachel Smith-Lyte, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, also welcomed the resignation.
She said: “I’m amazed she’s been around as long as she has, both in terms of being environment minister, which is laughable, and as an MP for this area.
“I’m very pleased that she’s gone but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.”
Recently, the council announced its opposition to the new oil and gas licenses announced during last week’s King’s speech.
This is only one of the quarrels the current administration at East Suffolk Council has had with the Central Government’s energy decisions for the area such as Sizewell C.
Cllr Smith-Lyte added she could not think of a single Conservative member ‘who really understands the problems, cares sufficiently, and has the political will necessary to do the job well’.
She continued: “It isn’t just a case of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic — we’re in a pretty desperate state.
“We need a general election and we need it now.”
Adrian Ramsay, who is gearing up for an election fight with SCC deputy leader, Richard Rout, also weighed in on the resignation.
He said: “She has rightly faced a lot of criticism locally and nature can at least temporarily breathe a sigh of relief.
“We need a fresh start on the environment, with real action to stop the water companies profiting from failure and a proper system of nature-friendly farming payments which are easy for farmers to access.”