JEREMY CORBYN toured flood-hit south Wales yesterday as firefighters called Boris Johnson a ‘coward’ for failing to visit victims of the extreme weather sweeping Britain.
Matt Wrack, head of the fire brigades union, labelled Mr Johnson’s government a ‘shambles’ as he claimed Tory cuts of more than £140million to the service over the last five years had hampered rescue efforts.
He said: ‘This prime minister has shown absolutely zero leadership as flooding devastates our communities. Firefighters are on the ground fighting to keep people, homes, and businesses safe, while Boris Johnson cowers in Westminster.’
Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn said it was pitiful that Mr Johnson had not even called an emergency Cobra meeting.
The Labour leader also questioned why the PM had not shown up, despite visiting flooded regions during December’s election campaign. He tweeted: ‘If the prime minister is not campaigning for votes in a general election, he simply does not care about helping communities affected by flooding.’
Asked what he would say to the PM, Mr Corbyn told reporters: ‘Go and visit people, go and talk to them, go and see what it’s like when you’ve got sewage water in your kitchen, go see what it’s like when you lose all your personal possessions and just think about that.
‘Think how you would feel if your house was flooded.’
The government said the prime minister was better placed to stay in the south of England to co-ordinate efforts. Business minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News: ‘He wants to help people by getting funding to them.’
Environment secretary George Eustice accused Mr Corbyn of trying to ‘politicise’ the floods. He added: ‘We are investing £2.6billion in flood defences, which have already protected 200,000 properties.’
Mr Johnson came under fire as more than a month’s worth of rain fell in some parts of the country yesterday, worsening conditions for areas already suffering from flooding in the wake of Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara.
The Environment Agency issued more than 250 flood alerts and warnings — with more heavy rain forecast in regions that have already seen more than 1,400 homes and businesses swamped.
Downpours forced the closure of the West Coast Main Line — a major rail route between England and Scotland — between Carlisle and Lancaster.
Police searching for missing 87-year-old Jean Disney, who was feared to have fallen into a river in Tiverton, Devon, on Monday, recovered a body yesterday.
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