Thérèse Coffey
The UK environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey. Photo/ Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The UK environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, is again trending on Twitter after she managed to offend people by suggesting that they should start "cherishing" seasonal vegetables such as turnips as the country faces a shortage of fresh produce.

Coffey was addressing the House of Commons on the shortage of vegetables caused by bad weather in Spain and North Africa.

"It's important to make sure that we cherish the specialisms that we have in this country," Coffey told parliament.

However, she acknowledged that people want a year-round choice and that the concerned parties will try to make it happen. Coffey added that the shortage might last for another two to four weeks. It did not take long for social media users to start trolling Coffey for her remarks with many of them coming up with their own unique take.

"Let them eat turnips!" wrote the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw. The MP's tweet was reminiscent of the famous quote attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette of France.

"Let them eat cake," was the queen's response when she was informed that her subjects had no bread to eat. However, there is no evidence to suggest that she really did utter those words.

In Coffey's case, she was probably trying to suggest that people should eat seasonal vegetables since it is good for health as well. But social media users did not take it well. "Was a bounty of this unloved root vegetable part of the promised Brexit dividend?" wrote one user.

Some asked if Brexit was responsible for the tomato shortage being witnessed in the UK. "Imagine if the Brexit slogan had been 'Let them eat turnips'. Would they have won 52%?" wrote another.

"Hello @McDonaldsUK are you going to start offering a bacon, lettuce and turnip quarter pounder or do you hate Britain?" wrote another.

Downing Street came to Coffey's defence soon after and clarified that she was only "setting out the importance of celebrating the produce that we grow here in the UK but, ultimately, it is for individuals to decide what food they wish to buy."

Coffey earlier came under fire for suggesting that people who are struggling to afford food should try to improve their skills to get a higher income or work more hours, per a BBC report.