Jeremy Corbyn visited flood-hit families while Boris Johnson proceeded to evade demands to see for himself the destruction unleashed by Storm Dennis. The Prime Minister was also still resisting requests to trigger a COBRA meeting to organise attempts to assist householders battered by the destruction.
The Labour leader toured flood-damaged homes in Rhydyfelin near Pontypridd and blasted the Conservative leader for spending the week holed up at a country estate in Kent and his No 10 bunker.
Firefighter leaders also reprimanded Boris Johnson’s response as a shambles and accused him of cowering away, and angry householders urged the Prime Minister to leave No 10 and the Government’s grace and favour retreat, Chevening to see the aftereffect of the rainfall.
Selena Adamiec, 36, who showed Jeremy Corbyn round her end of terrace house, revealed she was awoken by a tremendous bang at 3 am as a wall outside her home collapsed under the weight of water.
She stated that she heard this huge bang and it was a warning for them to move fast as water rushed down the hillside, along the road and into her street on the Wordsworth Gardens social housing estate.
Selena said it was terrifying, the water was piling up, and that she’d only been in her home for a year and that they’d just finished decorating, and that was the sickening thing.
The mother to seven-year-old Jacob said she had to rip up carpets and was left to clean up when the waters subsided and standing next to Jeremy Corbyn, Selena glorified his visit, saying that this was the reason she voted for him.
She said that she didn’t know why Boris Johnson hadn’t shown his face but the fact that Jeremy Corbyn did mean a lot because it meant that they’d been recognised in this disaster.
Selena said that she believed that Boris Johnson should have at least had a look, whether he knocked on people’s doors or not, he should have at least come and had a look at the destruction it has left them in.
Next door, her neighbour Theresa Davies, 40, opened her back door so water could run through her house, in one end and out the other as the weekend floods erupted.
Theresa Davies managed to save the cushions from her sofa, but carpets and treasured possessions were lost and talking over the noise of three heavy-duty dryers, the mum of three said that she lost a huge cardboard box of all her children’s baby photos.
She said they weren’t worth much but that they were important to her and that they could never be replaced, and showing Jeremy Corbyn phone images of her flooded home, she said the entire house was swimming with water and that it was horrific, and she said that it meant a lot that he had come to see for himself.
Theresa Davies said that they normally get overlooked up there and she thought it was quite ludicrous the Prime Minister hadn’t been and that she was disappointed and that he could have bestowed a bit more concern.
It was like something out of a disaster movie as sandbags and floodgate panels stood in front of houses along the street as residents braced themselves for further downpours, and as hail pounded the estate, Jeremy Corbyn said that he thought the Prime Minister should visit these places.
And simply visiting people, speaking to them and listening to them, you can learn a great deal about the reality of what a flood is and it’s tragic, hearing stories of people losing their furniture and seeing their homes destroyed.
The Prime Minister must be there in places where there are difficulties, whether there’s an election or not and Boris Johnson should go and visit them, talk to them, and listen to them.
Boris Johnson should go and see what it’s like to have sewage water in your kitchen, go and see what it’s like to lose all your possessions, and the Prime Minister should think about how he would feel if his home was flooded.
However, a chief ally of the Prime Minister was sent out to defend Boris Johnson for ignoring victims and Minister Nadhim Zahawi maintained it was more important to get money to those affected than for them to see their Prime Minister in person.
And it was said that Jeremy Corbyn shouldn’t be seeking to politicise the floods and that he should be supporting the Government’s move to help and work with emergency staff who are working tirelessly to support everyone concerned.
Jeremy Corbyn dismissed it as complete rubbish but Tory claim his was a political stunt and Jeremy Corbyn said that it wasn’t politicising but that it was coming to listen to people, to hear about their experiences of what they’d been through.
The Prime Minister was further attacked by the Fire Brigades Union who said that funding for fire and rescue services in England had been cut by £141.5 million over the four-year local government finance settlement, 2016/17 to 2020/21, including an £8.7 million cut to the services covering regions with severe ‘risk to life’ flood warnings.
It highlighted how Hereford and Worcester had funding cut by £1.9 million – 19.8 per cent, as they suffered severe flooding from the River Severn in Upton-upon-Severn and the River Wye in Hampton Bishop.
Gloucestershire had been cut by £1.3 million -18.7 per cent despite facing critical flooding from the Severn at Uckinghall, and the Prime Minister has shown zilch leadership as flooding destroys communities.
Firefighters are on the ground fighting to keep people’s homes and businesses safe while Boris Johnson quails in Westminster.
Of course, flooding is nothing new and will only get worse with climate change, but our capacity to tackle its outcomes has been completely weakened by the absence of long term planning from this mess of a government.
The Tories have cut fire and rescue funding, mishandled flood defences and refused to recognise in law the role of firefighters and control staff in responding to these emergencies and Boris Johnson should be ashamed of himself.