Thérèse Coffey: Catholic deputy PM opposes attempts to ‘redefine marriage’

Oct 5, 2022 by

by Christopher Lamb, Religion Media Centre;

Boris Johnson was Britain’s first Catholic prime minister, but he said virtually nothing about his religious convictions, and it is unknown if he practises his faith.

Thérèse Coffey is a different matter. The new deputy prime minister and health secretary is a practising Catholic who takes her faith seriously and is considered one of prime minister Liz Truss’s closest political allies.

“I don’t know that I wear my religion on my sleeve, but it is undoubtedly part of who I am,” she told Sky News in June 2022. “There are issues that get decided in parliament — great ethical issues of the day — and so, of course, I’ll participate in that.”

Ms Coffey is from the northwest of England, the traditional Catholic heartland of England and Wales. She was born in Lancashire and educated at Catholic schools, including St Mary’s, Crosby, and St Edward’s College, Liverpool.

Both of them are prominent Catholic education institutions with St Mary’s alumni including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, and Lord Birt, the former director-general of the BBC. St Edward’s former pupils include Sir Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco and two Labour members of parliament: Peter Kilfoyle, who was MP for Liverpool Walton 1991-2010, and Dan Carden, who was elected to the same seat in 2017. Both St Mary’s and St Edward’s were once grammar schools for boys run by the Christian Brothers but today are co-educational. St Edward’s is a state-funded academy while St Mary’s became an independent school in the mid-1970s and was independent when Ms Coffey attended from 1986 to 1988.

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