Boris Johnson yet to visit flood-hit areas despite trips during general election

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has yet to visit any flood-hit areas this year despite twice heading to places affected by adverse weather during the general election campaign.

The Prime Minister has also resisted calls to chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee, Cobra, to tackle the crisis.

He convened such a meeting in response to severe flooding in Yorkshire and the East Midlands in November, in the middle of the election campaign.

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Stormy weather in the UK
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Stormy weather in the UK
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 18, 2020. Severe flood warnings remain in place in the wake of Storm Dennis, with more rain expected to fall later this week. See PA story WEATHER Storm. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
People eating by in front of temporary flood defences in Bewdley, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman carrying shopping bags through flood water, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A resident carrying a sandbag in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where pumps and flood barriers have been put in to help to keep the water from flooding homes following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A man wades through flood water in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
The Rose and Crown pub surrounded by flood water in Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
The Riverside Caravan Park Houses surrounded by flood water in in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman carrying shopping walks next to flood water, as she returns to her home in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Landlord Colin Reynolds walks through flood water in the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water at the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A Flood Warden checks on a house through flooded streets in Hereford, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A vehicle attempts to navigate the floodwaters in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A child's toy vehicle remains unscathed after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Member of the public wade through floodwaters after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public and there dog is rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue workers continue operations after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Members of the public are escorted to safety after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A half submerged fast food van after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Members of the public are rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A dog and its owner are rescued by emergency services after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public wades through floodwaters after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
People cross Tower Bridge, in London, during a heavy downpour of rain as Storm Dennis hits the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
One-year-old Blake is carried by a rescue worker as emergency services continue to take families to safety, after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales, as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety on inflatable rafts, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public wades through floodwaters in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Rescue operations continue after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A footbridge in Pontypridd is blocked by debris after Storm Dennis hits the UK.
Several men work on a broken down car which was affected by floodwater in Pontypridd after Storm Dennis hits the UK.
A flooded street in Pontypridd after Storm Dennis hits the UK, leading to widespread flooding.
Residents picking up sandbags in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where pumps and flood barriers have been put in to help to keep the water from flooding homes following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
One-year-old Blake and his mum, Terri O'Donnel, join other residents of Nantgarw in a rescue boat as emergency services take people to safety, after flooding in the village in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A firefighter carries a dog to safety as part of ongoing rescue operations due to flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Waves pound against the harbour wall at Portreath, Cornwall, as the UK is hit with weather disruption for the second weekend in a row as Storm Dennis sweeps in.
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
Geneeral view of emergency vehicles and personnel, as they continue with rescue operations due to flooding in Nantgarw, Wales after Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A car drives through a flooded road in the village of Findern in Derbyshire after Storm Dennis floods parts of the UK.
A car drives through a flooded road in the village of Findern in Derbyshire after Storm Dennis floods parts of the UK.
A tree which was blown over by Storm Dennis in Birkenshaw on the outskirts of Bradford, Leeds.
A member of the public is rescued after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
A member of the public is rescued from a flooded house in Oxford Street in Nantgarw, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.
UPTON UPON SEVEN, - FEBRUARY 19: Floodwaters surround Upton upon Seven following Storm Dennis on February 19, 2020 in Upton upon Seven, England. Storm Dennis is the second named storm to bring extreme weather in a week and follows in the aftermath of Storm Ciara. Although water is residing in many places flood warnings are still in places along the River Severn and it's tribuateries. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
In Pictures: Flood-hit areas prepare defences for further heavy rain
A woman checking the flood water in her garden, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A man rides a bike through flood water, as pumps and flood barriers help to keep the water from flooding homes in Gloucester Road in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, following the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Temporary flood barriers hold back the river Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A flood barrier on Hylton road in Worcester after the river Severn burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water remains in Yalding, Kent, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Defra Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, and Anthony Perry, West Midlands Operations Manager at the Environment Agency look at the swollen river in Worcester from the Hylton road flood defences after the river Severn burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Mountain Rescue team members attempt to rescue a man from his house that is surrounded by heavy flood water in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Ducks swimming in a back garden surrounded by flood water, Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A member of Lidl staff takes a look at flood water outside the back of the store in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Mountain Rescue team members attempt to rescue a man from his house that is surrounded by heavy flood water in Monmouth, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
A man wades through flood water in Hereford.
Flood in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire.
Landlord Colin Reynolds walks through flood water in the Ship Inn in Acaster Malbis, near York, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A Flood Warden delivering a vacuum cleaner through flooded streets in Hereford, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Dogs play in flood water York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman walks over a temporary bridge erected over flood water in York in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
A woman brushes water and debris from the Mary Stone Properties shopfront, which has been damaged by flood water, in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Cars sit in the receding flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Cars sit in the receding flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Peter Maybury, a specialist carpet and upholstery cleaner, opening up a fridge full of flood water in a poperty on oxford street, Nantgarw, in south Wales, where residents are returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
Flood water in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, in the aftermath of Storm Dennis.
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Mr Johnson is not expected to visit any flood-hit areas on Monday, but Downing Street said he was being kept updated about events as he worked from Chevening, the country retreat usually used by the Foreign Secretary.

Asked why Mr Johnson was not personally visiting areas hit by the recent storms, a Number 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister will receive regular updates on this.

"It's right that Defra and the Secretary of State for the Environment are leading on this."

The PM made visits to Matlock in Derbyshire and Fishlake, near Doncaster, during the election campaign last November.

Britain has been battered by two storms over the last two weekends – with Storm Ciara bringing flooding to the North of England, and Storm Dennis causing severe flooding in South Wales.

Dennis lashed the country with 90mph winds over the weekend and drenched some places with more than a month's worth of rain in 48 hours.

The infrastructure watchdog said the Government needs to go further than its commitment to invest £4 billion over the next five years.

Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer said it was an "appalling decision" not to hold a Cobra meeting.

"The recent flooding is a stark reminder that the Government is not doing enough to get to grips with the climate crisis," he tweeted.

"Ministers should be taking a lead on this situation, not ducking their responsibilities.

"I would urge the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision and give communities the support they need to deal with the horrendous flooding."

Dame Kate Barker, of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: "This weekend's flooding highlights the challenge the UK faces from severe weather, which will only get worse with climate change.

"We must plan ahead to reduce the devastating effects of flooding on households, communities and our economy, but too often our approach feels like we're playing catch-up with the weather.

"Government has committed to invest £4 billion over the next five years, but needs to go further.

"In our National Infrastructure Assessment in 2018, we recommended a national standard of resilience to flooding, to focus attention on delivering the long-term solutions required, including traditional flood defences, green infrastructure and better spatial planning.

"We expect Government to take decisive action in its forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy to mitigate the risks we face."

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