Flooded mum blasts missing Boris Johnson as Tory climate record in the spotlight

Flood victims and climate crisis campaigners have slammed Boris Johnson for ­failing to visit communities devastated by Storm Dennis.

Downing Street said yesterday that the Prime Minister had no plans to see the ravages of last weekend’s deluge first-hand.

Instead, he was holed up in the Foreign Secretary’s luxurious residence – Grade-I listed Chevening House in the Kent countryside.

He also ignored demands to call a COBRA emergency meeting, sparking fresh claims that he is not taking the climate crisis seriously.

Tracey Newman, 46, woke to find her house in Nantgarw, near Cardiff, knee-deep in water.

  • Ministers finally announce financial help for flood-hit families and businesses

  • Couple's home destroyed in Storm Dennis flood three days after insurance runs out

The mum of three said: “It is unbelievable he will not visit. This flooding is definitely down to global warming. People need to wake up to climate change.

“I phoned the Government emergency fund and they gave me £80. What can I do with that? It’s not even a week’s shopping

“We have had help from electricians working for free and people helping us clean up but nothing from the authorities.”

The Tories have been blasted for taking donations from investors in fossil fuels – while the PM has had campaign money from hedge fund boss Michael Hintze, a backer of climate science-denying Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Sacked minister Claire O’Neill recently said the PM “doesn’t really get” climate change. And in his newspaper columns, Mr Johnson has called wind farms “white satanic mills”, backed fracking and urged that we “ignore doom merchants” on emissions. He later issued a moratorium on fracking but critics pointed to his voting record.

Mr Johnson has “almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change”, according to the well-respected research website, TheyWorkForYou.

As a backbencher in March 2016, he opposed moves to “set a decarbonisation target for the UK within six months of June 2016 a and to review it annually thereafter”.

He also refused to take part in a Channel 4 TV debate focusing on climate change in the run-up to December’s general election.

Newly-installed Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who was put in charge of preparations for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November after Mrs O’Neill was sacked from the job, “generally voted against measures to prevent climate change”, says TheyWorkForYou.

Votes included backing plans to apply the Climate Change Levy tax to electricity generated from renewable sources.

He also opposed “requiring the setting of a target range for the amount of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) produced per unit of electricity generated”.

New Environment Secretary George Eustice also “generally voted against measures to prevent climate change”, according to the website.

Earlier this month the PM admitted climate change was harming “the most vulnerable populations around the planet”.

In a speech last month, Mr Sharma spoke of the “undeniable implications” of climate change.

And this week, Mr Eustice blamed the “nature of climate change” for the amount of damage wreaked by Storm Dennis.

But Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard said: “The voting record of leading Tories shows they are simply not taking the climate crisis seriously and are dodging the hard decisions on climate.

“Since Parliament declared a climate emergency we all have to do things differently.

“Sadly, it’s just more of the same from the Tories who failed to prepare for the floods and are failing to take radical action on the climate crisis.”

Last night, ministers unveiled measures to help the flood-hit. Affected households can apply for up to £500. Homes and firms “significantly affected” can get 100% council tax and rates relief for at least three months.

Small to medium-sized firms with “severe, uninsurable losses” are eligible for up to £2,500.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We know climate change means extreme weather events like this are more likely and are already investing £2.6billion in flood defences by 2021.”

The Tory leader raced to devastated Yorkshire communities in November when he was bidding for votes in the run-up to the general election.

He also convened the Government’s emergency committee, COBRA, to help coordinate the clean-up three months ago.

But yesterday he was refusing to visit inundated householders facing up to the misery of the latest soaking, or trigger a COBRA meeting.

Instead, he was at Chevening – a Grade I-listed, 17th Century, 115-room, Government retreat set in 3,500 acres in the Kent countryside.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Tackling climate change and the impact on our environment is both a national and international priority.

“The UK is leading the fight against it by delivering on our world-leading target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and we are driving ambition for global action ahead of COP26.

“We are also investing record amounts in flood defences to protect communities from the impacts of flooding and have committed £4billion to strengthen our response to extreme weather.”

No10 stressed the PM was receiving regular briefings on floods and was “fully engaged with the Government’s recovery effort”.

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