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Jeremy Corbyn slams Boris Johnson for flood ‘no-show’ ahead of visit to storm-battered communities

Harriet Brewis
Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at Boris Johnson for “refusing” to visit flood-hit communities, accusing him of showing his “true colours” by letting residents down.

The outgoing Labour leader launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister in the aftermath of Storm Dennis, which left more than 1,000 homes and businesses flooded across the UK.

Mr Corbyn said the Government’s response to recent flooding had been “wholly inadequate” and the most vulnerable areas had been “badly let down time and time again”.

However, the Conservatives dismissed Mr Corbyn’s comments as an unhelpful attempt to “politicise the floods”. The party said he should instead focus his energies on working with emergency services to help affected communities.

The Labour leader is due to meet residents and volunteers in south Wales on Thursday, after heavy rainfall caused record river levels in the region.

Ahead of the visit, he accused the PM of “not caring” about helping the towns and villages devastated by the floods and criticised him for not convening the government’s emergency Cobra committee.

“In refusing to visit flood-hit communities, nowhere-to-be-seen Boris Johnson is showing his true colours by his absence,” Mr Corbyn said.

“Failing to convene Cobra to support flood-hit communities sends a very clear message: if the Prime Minister is not campaigning 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.

Jeremy Corbyn accused Boris Johnson of 'simply not caring' about flood-hit communities (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“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.

“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.”

Tory MP and environment secretary George Eustice replied to the criticism by saying: “Jeremy Corbyn shouldn’t be trying to politicise the floods, he should be backing the government’s move to support and work with emergency personnel who are working tirelessly to help everyone affected.

“We are investing £2.6 billion in flood defences, which have already protected 200,000 properties that would otherwise have been caught out by flooding.

“We know there is more to do – which is why our manifesto committed us to an additional £4 billion for flood defences and today we’ve set out new measures to help the communities directly affected.”

Storm Dennis has caused severe flooding to the Monmouth area of South Wales (REUTERS)

On Tuesday, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also questioned why the Prime Minister had not called a Cobra meeting.

He said the Welsh Government should have its own Cobra-style national emergency response system, particularly for flooding disasters, to discuss emergency responses across all public authorities.

On Wednesday afternoon, First Minister Mark Drakeford held a summit at the Emergency Coordination Centre Wales (ECCW) in Cardiff.

Mr Drakeford said he wanted to assure residents that the Welsh Government was “on their side” following the floods.

He described how grateful they had been for the emergency services “in the dreadful circumstances that people faced”.

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