As Deputy Prime Minister, Therese Coffey has one of the most important roles in British politics. And yet, she “is apparently not aware” of everything that is going on in her own government.

The health minister stunned viewers on Tuesday’s media tour as she bounced from interview to interview offering little more than goofs to her audience.

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From his phone that lights up BBC Radio 4 (his ringtone is no longer Dr Dre, we’re sorry to tell you), to run into from the sky Kay Burley, here’s a look at some of the morning blunders.

Another day, another telephone alarm

We’re starting to wonder if she’s doing it on purpose, but Coffey’s alarm bells went off when she was on the air for the second time in just over a month.

Addressing the from the BBC Justin Webb on benefit rates, the Suffolk MP was interrupted by the sound of her own wake-up call just before 8am.

This time it was a generic Samsung track, unlike when it appeared on LBC in September to the sound of Dr. Dre’s “Still DRE.”

“You have a different ring for every interview,” Webb laughed.

‘I didn’t think it was right’ to tell parents not to smoke in cars around kids

You might think that the Health Secretary would surely be the first person to promote laws banning people from smoking around children. But you would be wrong. In fact, Coffey has voted against a number of measures to restrict smoking since becoming an MP in 2010.

Ask by AML Nick Ferrari: “Why did you vote against banning smoking in cars containing children?” Coffey (who has no children of her own, by the way), replied after taking a sip of his mug: “Ah probably because I didn’t I don’t think it was right to tell the parents how to handle the situation.

Asked further by Ferrari: “So you think it’s fair to smoke in a car if you have kids in a car?” she replied, “Well, I think you’ll find that the law…I can’t remember if the law has changed or not, I think it probably has…”

When asked again to clarify whether she thinks it’s right to smoke in a car around children, she replied: “Well, I don’t know what the law says today. “

She continued, “You ask me something from ten years ago, I’m not sure why it’s relevant now.”

Ummm maybe because the government has pledged to release a tobacco control plan ‘later this year’ and there are rumors that Coffey intends to flip-flop on that pledge ? Or maybe just because she’s a health secretary who seems to support smoking – take your pick.

“I don’t know about any of this”

Kay Burley is known for being a tireless interviewer, so you’d think Coffey would have been better prepared to face her. Sky News.

Burley confronted the deputy prime minister over government plans that could see developers exempt from having to build affordable homes. Coffey’s answer? Say she didn’t know anything about them.

News of the housing proposals, which would also include plans to remove some environmental protections and the suspension of a ban on no-fault evictions, was revealed in The temperature today. It sparked an instant outcry, with Labour’s shadow leveling secretary Lisa Nandy tweeting: ‘They’ve crushed the economy. This has led to soaring mortgage rates, rents, energy bills and food prices. Their response is less affordable housing.

In other words, it’s a big deal, so you’d think one of the most senior cabinet ministers would have known about it.

However, when Burley said: ‘Apparently ministers have drawn up plans to exempt developers from building affordable homes to remove environmental protections and to allow people to add extensions without permission, according to Simon Clarke. It is not fair?”

Coffey replied, “I’m not aware of that policy” before trying to bring his interviewer down on the leveling secretary.

“But you are the Deputy Prime Minister, with all due respect,” the presenter stressed.

Coffey had none of that, retorting, “Well you’re just throwing comments at me Kay […] I’m not aware of specific things like that, no.

“OK, how interesting,” Burley replied coldly.

That’s a word for it.

It’s also not the only time Coffey has played the “I don’t know” card. Elsewhere during his Sky News toasting, she admitted further warnings of financial instability were also “news to her” and that Burley should follow up with the Chancellor if she wanted to discuss public finances.

You might be wondering why she’s making the rounds in the media if she thinks her colleagues are better placed to discuss the issues facing Britain than she, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Likewise, speaking about BBC breakfast on the small matter of the economic crisis facing the country, Coffey offered little comfort.

Asked if people’s pensions were safe following further intervention by the Bank of England, she replied: ‘Yes, I absolutely believe pensions are safe’, before conceding that she is “unaware of the details of what exactly happened this morning”.


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