‘You’ve took your time Boris’: Johnson criticised during visit to flood-hit area
One frustrated woman, who was pushing around a wheelbarrow and assisting the troops, refused to speak to the PM in Stainforth, South Yorkshire.
Boris Johnson faced heavy criticism over his response to flooding as he met victims in one of the worst-hit areas.
The Prime Minister was told by locals in Stainforth, South Yorkshire, that his trip there had come “too late”, with one telling him: “I don’t know what you’re here today for.”
He was visiting on Wednesday morning as around 100 soldiers arrived to assist communities cut off by flooding in the area, one of the worst affected by last week’s deluge.
One frustrated woman, who was pushing around a wheelbarrow, refused to speak to the Prime Minister.
She said: “I’m not very happy about talking to you so, if you don’t mind, I’ll just mope on with what I’m doing.
“You’ve not helped us up to press. I don’t know what you’re here today for.”
Another told him: “You’ve took your time Boris, haven’t you?”
Later on in his trip, he was reprimanded by one woman, local Labour councillor Susan Durant, who told him that he should have come to South Yorkshire when the flooding started last week.
“It took you over five days, you should have been there Saturday morning, having a meeting, making sure that these people get help and support,” she said.
The Prime Minister has been criticised by the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders for a perceived lack of response to the flooding, which has hit several areas in the North.
Some had taken issue after he said during a visit to Derbyshire last week that the flooding, which has caused hundreds of people to evacuate their homes, was not something that needed to be escalated to the level of a “national emergency”.
Shelly Beniston is one of the locals helping to organise supply runs to the neighbouring village of Fishlake, another area hit by the flooding.
“We’ve had no authorities helping us. We didn’t know where to start,” she told Mr Johnson.
“We just used common sense basically.”
But one man shook the Prime Minister’s hand and said: “Help these people out. They definitely need it. Well done Boris.”
The Prime Minister later paid a visit to Fishlake, where he told reporters: “We will get people back on their feet.”
On Tuesday, he announced that relief funding would be made available for those affected by the floods and said that funding for local councils to help affected households would be made available to the tune of £500 per eligible household.
Up to £2,500 would be available for small to medium-sized businesses which have suffered severe impacts and which are not covered by insurance, the Prime Minister added.
Asked whether his visit to the flood-hit community had simply been an “election photo opportunity”, he responded: “It’s very clear what we’re pledging and we will come back and ensure that what I’m undertaking to do now is delivered.”
Mr Johnson added: “What we need to do now is just to get through the next couple of days, the forecast for tomorrow is not as bad as it has been, and we’ve just got to make sure that people are properly protected.”
There are currently 34 flood warnings in place – mostly in the north of England – and the Met Office has issued two yellow rain warnings for Thursday.
One of these is in the southern half of the UK covering London, Oxford and Cardiff and is due to run all day, while another covering Sheffield, Lincoln and Nottingham is expected to last from 9am on Thursday to 3am on Friday.
Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey warned that parts in the South West, such as Bristol, Bath and Gloucester, could see as much as 40mm to 60mm of rain.
But she said that colder, drier conditions are expected towards the end of the week.