Environment Secretary Therese Coffey stirred up a fresh row today when she claimed Britons struggling with food bills should ‘work some more hours’.
The gaffe-prone Cabinet minister was branded ‘appalling’ for her ‘shocking’ comments by a Labour MP as they clashed in the House of Commons.
The spat came as Ms Coffey admitted the cost of living crisis was ‘really tough’ for UK families.
She added that ‘one of the best ways’ for people to boost their incomes was ‘potentially to work some more hours, to get upskilled, to get a higher income’.
The row is the latest in a series of controversies to hit Ms Coffey, who has been dubbed ‘Calamity Coffey’ by critics.
Only yesterday Ms Coffey was booed at the National Farmers’ Union conference after she insisted UK egg shortages had not been caused by ‘market failure’.
She has also previously clashed with England footballer Marcus Rashford over his free school meals campaign and came under fire for singing ‘Time of My Life’ as the Universal Credit uplift ended when she was work and pensions secretary.
Last year, when appointed health secretary by her close ally Liz Truss, Ms Coffey admitted she was ‘no role model’ after being challenged about her enthusiasm for a drink and a cigar.
During environment questions in the Commons this morning, Ms Coffey was quizzed by Labour’s Rachael Maskell about Britons struggling to afford food shopping.
The York Central MP said: ‘With the ONS highlighting a 16.8 per cent increase in food prices in the year to January, the Government has built its food poverty infrastructure with dependency on voluntary donations and retail waste donations.
‘However, due to demand, food banks in York are running out, eking out food supplies.’
Ms Maskell said she is holding a donation day to help bring in supplies and distribute to those in need, adding: ‘We call it York Together as we support one another.