Boris Johnson has been criticised by Labour members for not meeting victims of the floods in the UK but the Prime Minister insisted the Government are working towards flood defences. Mr Johnson also argued he wasn’t going there for a “photo opportunity”. His disappearance sparked a furious clash between Jemma Forte and Carole Malone.
Speaking on the Jeremy Vine show, Ms Forte said: “I would be so depressed and I would want someone in power to say, ‘we are going to make this right and I can see that you’re suffering’.”
Ms Malone interjected: “What they need is to be told what the Government is doing.”
Ms Forte continued: “And they’ve had neither. I just think he shouldn’t be prioritising holidays.”
Ms Malone added: “This is the typical left. Typical left argument.
“The Prime Minister is not entitled to have a holiday, of course, he is.
“This is what the left does. He lives in a big house on the weekends, that’s what he does. He was working!”
The Prime Minister said his team had been “working flat out day and night” to help people whose homes were damaged by rising waters in the wake of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.
He was forced to defend the Government’s handling of the flooding after Jeremy Corbyn branded him a “part-time prime minister” for failing to visit flood-hit communities.
“I am very proud of the response that the Government has mounted over the past few days.
“We convened the national flood response centre on February 14. Since the flooding began, there has been a constant stream of ministerial activity,” the Prime Minister said.
“No one should underestimate the anguish that flooding causes, and of course it is an absolute shock to the households that are affected, but it is thanks to the measures that this Government have put in place that 200,000 households have been protected from flooding.”
During an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corybn mocked the Prime Minister for spending most of last week at Chevening House, a ministerial grace-and-favour residence in Kent, rather than visiting flood zones.
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Mr Johnson told him: “Let me repeat, this Government has a fantastic record of investing in flood defences and will continue to do so.
“The reason we can do so, the reason we have been able to commit £2.6 billion for flood defences and the reason we are able to pledge another £4 billion is because this Government is running a strong, successful and robust economy, which he would ruin.”
He added: “There are particular problems to do with insurance, as anybody who has visited a flood-affected household will know.
“Since last December’s events, we are now looking at what we can do to protect households that do not have proper insurance.
“But the right honourable gentleman also knows that there are measures in place to ensure that householders get £500 and £5,000 to compensate themselves for the worst damage that flooding can do.”