Cries of 'shocking' as Therese Coffey fumbles question about sewage and food …
Therese Coffey didn't have a good day in parliament on Thursday, by all accounts.
The Defra secretary, who briefly served as deputy PM in the Liz Truss days, faced questions from MPs about current supermarket shortages the UK is facing, shortages that have forced four supermarkets to ration fresh produce with tomatoes particularly hit.
It was Labour MP Luke Pollard who left her grasping for words when he asked the minister about "kids going hungry" as well as "rationing in our supermarkets" and bad crops supply.
He said it wasn't because people were stockpiling food and that Coffey needed to show "more leadership" on the issue.
"Unless she wants to go down as the secretary of state for sewage, food shortages and rural poverty, what is her plan to properly address the food shortages?" he asked.
In response, Coffey accused Pollard of "bandwagon jumping" and blamed supply chain issues for the food shortages.
She then stumbled over her words as she appeared to start telling a joke and was interrupted by Labour MPs heckling her.
"I had a great one, Mr Speaker," she promised as she ummed and arred.
She eventually said Pollard didn't know how the supply-chain worked and one MP was heard shouting "shocking" in response.
\u201cLuck Pollard: It's 2023 & there's crops rotting in the fields.. kids are going hungry in our communities & now we have rationing in supermarkets... unless she wants to go down as the SoS for sewage, food shortages & rural poverty.. what is her plan\n\nCoffey's response was shocking\u201d
Elsewhere in the disastrous session, Coffey suggested people eat turnips instead to deal with the food shortages.
“A lot of people would be eating turnips right now rather than thinking necessarily about aspects of lettuce, and tomatoes and similar but I’m conscious that consumers want a year-round choice and that is what our supermarkets, food producers and growers around the world try to satisfy," she said.
She also suggested people work more hours if they can't afford food, saying the best way to boost their incomes is by either getting into work if they are unemployed or “potentially to work some more hours” or “get upskilled” in a bid to secure a higher wage.
These are optics so bad even Specsavers wouldn't be able to help...
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