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Friday, Oct 30, 2020

Boris Johnson has still not visited communities devastated by floods

The Environment Secretary has defended Boris Johnson for defying calls to visit flood-stricken communities in the wake of Storm Dennis.

George Eustice insisted the Prime Minister had raised incoming storms as the ‘first thing’ on his agenda after being appointed to the role in the recent reshuffle.

The PM – who visited several flood-hit towns during the election – has faced criticism for remaining in the Foreign Secretary’s Chevening country estate in Kent rather than visiting regions including Yorkshire, South Wales and the Midlands.

Jeremy Corbyn slammed the PM for not visiting people whose homes have been flooded out.

In a video posted to social media, the Labour leader said: ‘It’s very odd that the Prime Minister has not called a meeting of Cobra despite very serious flooding.

‘Surely to goodness on an issue like this, as serious as this, there needs to be action taken at the highest level in government. Cobra should have met by now.’


But Mr Eustice told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘It’s not true that the Prime Minister’s not been engaged in this.

‘From the very moment he appointed me he’s been engaged.’

The Cabinet minister insisted the Government is ‘not a one-man show’ and said the national response centre has been stood up to tackle the devastation.

Mr Eustice was pressed on why the PM has not been seen in public in nine days, in stark contrast to the election period, when he visited several flood-hit towns.

He said that was because election campaigning rules meant there was ‘less ministerial involvement’, so ‘there was seen to be something of a slow start’.

‘That’s why, because of the criticism, the Prime Minister in that instance did stand up Cobra,’ he said, adding that it has not been ‘necessary this time’ because of the existing national flood response centre.

‘We didn’t need to stand up a separate Cabinet Office infrastructure in the form of Cobra because you already had one dedicated to floods that was operating.’

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