BORIS JOHNSON has been condemned as a ‘part-time prime minister’ over his reaction to the widespread floods as footage emerged of him singing on stage at a Conservative Party fundraiser.
He was accused of neglecting communities devastated by storms as rivers rose to record highs yesterday and forecasters warned of more to come.
In the Commons, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described flood-hit homes as he told MPs: ‘The prime minister was silent, sulking in his grace-and-favour mansion at Chevening.’
Mr Johnson has been staying in the foreign secretary’s country residence in Kent while Chequers is renovated.
He was filmed trying to sing the Welsh national anthem on stage with Wynne Evans, star of the Go Compare adverts, at the fundraiser in London on Tuesday.
Mr Corbyn asked: ‘How can the country trust a prime minister, a part-time prime minister, last night schmoozing Tory party donors at a very expensive black-tie ball instead of getting out there and supporting the people who are suffering because of the floods?’
The Labour leader insisted £5.6billion was needed for flood defences but accused the government of committing less than half that.
Mr Johnson replied: ‘I’m very proud of the response the government has mounted over the last few days. Never forget that in spite of the flooding — and no one should underestimate the anguish that flooding causes and of course it’s an absolute shock to the households that are affected — but it is thanks to the measures that this government has put in that 200,000 households have been protected from flooding.’
Environment secretary George Eustice has rejected calls for a public inquiry into the latest flood damage.
Meanwhile, residents near the River Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire, were told to evacuate as temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed. West Mercia Police Ch Supt Tom Harding said: ‘We’ve got water that has started to come underneath the flood barriers and in areas it appears that it is buckling.’
People were also told to leave the Worcestershire town of Bewdley after the river spilled over barriers. The Environment Agency said flood risks would continue until Sunday as 96 flood warnings and 140 alerts remained and the Met Office issued a yellow snow and ice alert from Scotland to the Midlands.
Abstaining for Lent? Jeremy’s already given up so much
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn abstains from ‘so many things’ he is unlikely to cut anything else out for Lent, his spokesman said. Anyone who has worked with the vegetarian teetotaller will know he rarely turns the heating on, there’s ‘not much meat around’ and ‘certainly the booze is a bit skimpy’, the slightly rueful-sounding aide added. No.10 would not comment when asked if Boris Johnson intends to give anything up for the six-week period leading up to Easter.