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Sat, 28 March 2020

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Jeremy Corbyn: Boris Johnson has shown 'true colours' by failing to visit flood-hit areas

Jeremy Corbyn: Boris Johnson has shown 'true colours' by failing to visit flood-hit areas
3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has accused Boris Johnson of showing his "true colours" by failing to visit areas affected by the floods.

The Prime Minister has come in for intense criticism over the Government's response to the devastation caused by the recent storms.

More than 1,400 homes and businesses have been impacted in the wake of Storms Ciara and Dennis, but Mr Johnson has yet to convene a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee.

Instead, a spokesperson for Mr Johnson said he was "receving regular updates" on the situation from a luxury mansion in Kent, while Chequers, the official prime ministerial country retreat, undergoes maintenance.

By contrast, the Prime Minister did visit flooded areas in November during the general election campaign.

On Tuesday, ministers announced a raft of new measures to help those affected by the floods, including a new £500 "financial hardship payment" and council tax and business rates relief.

But Mr Corbyn said the response was "wholly inadequate" as he accused the Prime Minister of failing to protect communities.

Speaking ahead of a visit to flood-hit areas in South Wales, the Labour leader said: "In refusing to visit flood-hit communities, nowhere-to-be-seen Boris Johnson is showing his true colours by his absence.

"Failing to convene Cobra to support flood-hit communities sends a very clear message: if the Prime Minister is not campaigining for votes in a general election he simply does not care about helping communities affected by flooding, especially communities that have repeatedly been flooded in recent years.

"I want to thank our emergency services, the Welsh Labour government, local authorities and volunteers who have come together and worked around the clock to protect homes and businesses from flooding.

He added: "As the climate crisis deepens, extreme weather conditions will become more frequent and severe. The government's response has been wholly inadequate and fails to grasp the scale of this crisis.

"The Government has failed to protect the most vulnerable communities who have been so badly let down time and time again, and Ministers have failed to put in place longer-term flood prevention strategies to protect communities from the consequences of extreme weather conditions."

Speaking on Monday, newly appointed Environment Secretary George Eustice said the Government had a "firm grip" on the flooding.

"We've done a huge amount - we can't do anything about these extreme weather events but the steps we've taken have meant the impact of those weather events have affected fewer properties.

"In the last five years the flood infrastructure that we've put in place has protected over 200,000 properties. Other projects that we're working on now will protect another 100,000.

He added: "You will never be able to protect every single property but the investments that we've made mean we are able to protect a significant number.

"When you have emergencies, like we do in some areas with flooding, making sure that it's all hands on deck and that you've got people dealing with that immediate issue are important."


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