Therese Coffey, the top Tory politician who resigned from Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet yesterday, has said she nearly died due to political stress.
In a personal interview with her local BBC Suffolk radio station, Ms Coffey revealed how tough she found being a minister and the impact it has had on her health.
The former environment secretary revealed: “Nearly five years ago I got so ill, I nearly, dare I say it, died”.
“I was in hospital for a month with some of the stresses that happen with ministerial life.
“A few years ago I certainly worked myself into the ground somewhat, but I learned a lot from that incident and that’s why I’ve always had a joy about life.”
At the time Ms Coffey was serving as a senior minister in the Department for the Environment, though quickly found herself promoted under Boris Johnson.
She served as a Cabinet Minister since 2019, including at Work and Pensions, DEFRA, and also a brief stint as deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary during Liz Truss’s Government.
Ms Coffey resigned from Rishi Sunak’s Government yesterday, saying she considered it the “right time to step back”.
She said she “looks forward to supporting [Rishi Sunak] from the backbenches and working together for a Conservative majority at the next election, which I believe to be profoundly in the national interest”.
Thanking her for her service, Mr Sunak paid tribute to both her professional work and her “friendship to me personally”.
He also commended her work during the “difficult time for our party” during Liz Truss’s turbulent premiership: “Your teamwork and positivity helped bring everyone together”.
“Your record is one of dedicated service.”
While Ms Coffey is a popular figure in the Conservative Party – a renowned socialiser and karaoke enthusiast – her time at DEFRA in particular drew criticism amid the row about river pollution.