MPs demand ‘Where was the Prime Minister?’ in backlash over flooding response

The mounting backlash against the no-show PM exploded into the Commons after MPs demanded to know why the Prime Minister had been “missing in action” during record-breaking flooding.

Boris Johnson  has been accused of snubbing communities ravaged by storms Ciara and Dennis, instead hiding away in Downing Street and his 115-room grace- and-favour mansion in Kent.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard asked: “Where was the Prime Minister? Why wasn’t a Cobra meeting convened? Why was there no national leadership from this Government? Why has the Welsh Government and communities in Wales not received the same extra support as those in England?

He added: “During the general election, the Prime Minister reluctantly visited flood-hit communities to win votes. He was out with his mop pushing water around shops, but now he’s got his majority he’s nowhere to be seen. He’s missing in action.

“He was taking a break in a mansion in Kent instead of giving our nation the leadership those communities under water genuinely deserve.

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Mr Johnson broke cover for the first time in nine days.

His officials insisted the Prime Minister had been receiving “regular updates” about the situation as he spent time at the grace-and-favour Chevening mansion last week.

Number 10 said Environment Secretary George Eustice was “rightly” leading the Government’s response to the flooding.

Mr Eustice urged people living in at-risk flood areas to remain vigilant.

Mr Eustice told MPs that 1,400 homes in England had been flooded but recent improvements to flood defence schemes had reduced the number of homes that could have been affected.

He added: “Investment made in recent years have significantly improved our resilience but there is much more to do.

“We are investing £2.6 billion in flood defences – over 1,000 flood defences schemes – to better protect 300,000 homes by 2021.

“To put this into context, in the floods of 2007, 55,000 properties were flooded but with similar volumes of water in place this year thankfully far fewer properties have been flooded and flood defence schemes have protected over 90,000 properties in England this winter.”

Mr Eustice said that 18 gauges across 15 rivers had recorded their highest water levels on record including the Colne, Ribble, Calder, Aire, Trent, Severn, Wye, Lugg and Derwent.

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