The minister is also reported to be unhappy at the treatment of colleagues and has spoken out about Gordon Brown’s premiership.

She was appointed minister of state for Defra in October last year and has been a member of parliament since Labour swept to power in 1997.

She told the BBC: “I have to do what I believe is right and I’m afraid for Gordon I can’t support him as leader.

“I’ve been unhappy for some time about briefings against individuals, leaks, smears against colleagues.

“It’s a style, a type of politics that I have fought against all my working life since battling against the Militant Tendency here in Liverpool. It’s not a kind of politics that I want to be associated with.”

Several MPs have left posts in the cabinet claiming to be disillusioned with Mr Brown’s leadership.

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie