Boris Johnson heckled with cries of 'traitor' on visit to flood-hit areas
Boris Johnson was heckled with cries of “traitor” as he finally visited areas hit by flooding.
The Prime Minister spoke to residents in Bewdley, Worcestershire, to thank them for their resilience as his Government revealed funding for flood defences is being doubled to £5.2billion.
But he came under fire for failing to come sooner, having been accused of being a “part-time” PM by not visiting in the wake of the River Severn bursting its banks during the wettest February on record.
After saying he was going to “get Bewdley done” as he was shown around the town by the Environment Agency some onlookers shouted “traitor”.
And after he posed for selfies with a group of teenagers one man shouted “do your f***ing job”.
But Mr Johnson defended his absence, saying: “It’s too easy for a PM to come to a place in a middle of an emergency, it’s not so easy, frankly, for the emergency services.
“What they have to do is then break off and Gold Command has to find somewhere to brief you, everybody has to gather. They’re diverting from their work for hours and hours.
“What I’ve been doing since the flooding began is co-ordinating the national response but also looking at what we can do in the next months and years to ensure this country is ready to cope with the impacts of flooding.”
The new cash is due to be announced in the Budget on Wednesday, and will help to build 2,000 new flood and coastal defence schemes and protect 336,000 properties in the country.
The PM also announced a new £200million fund to pilot innovative approaches to improving flood resilience, such as adapting existing infrastructure or creating sustainable, natural defences.
Mr Johnson said: “My every sympathy is with the families and businesses suffering because of the recent floods - I am determined to help them get them back on their feet.
“I want to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of the Environment Agency and emergency services who are working to protect communities hit by the recent storms.
“We need to keep improving our protections against extreme weather, that is why we are investing £5.2billion for flood defences to support communities up and down the country.”
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