Jeremy Corbyn tells Boris Johnson: 'If South Yorkshire floods had happened in Surrey…a national emergency would have been called'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has sent a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticising the decision to not declare a national emergency over flooding in South Yorkshire.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 5:08 pm
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 8:59 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Labour MP Caroline Flint during a visit to Conisborough, South Yorkshire, where he met residents affected by flooding. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

In the letter – sent exclusively to The Star and Doncaster Free Press – Mr Corbyn has called upon the Prime Minister to chair a COBRA meeting and take charge of the response to the flooding.

On a visit to flood hit areas last week, Mr Johnson admitted that flooding will become more prevelent in the future but does not believe it will enough to constitute a national emergency.

After visiting Conisbrough on Saturday, Mr Corbyn has urged the Government to provide assistance to those affected by the flooding and those who may be hit in the future.

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Mr Corbyn wrote:

"Dear Prime Minister,

“Over the past few days we have both visited those affected by the devastating floods across Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

“You’ll know that hundreds of homes have been flooded and over a thousand properties have now been evacuated. Our hearts go out to those affected, including the friends and family of Annie Hall.

“With heavy rain expected in parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands, in areas that are already suffering from flooding, hundreds of further flood warnings are in place. Rightly there will be hundreds of thousands of people across these regions who remain concerned about their families and livelihoods.

“With this in mind, I am writing to urge you to hold a COBRA meeting and take personal charge of the government’s response to the devastating flooding we have seen over the past few days. In addition, we need full assurance from the Government that every resource is being utilised to aid those that need it and protect against future potential floods.

“With dozens of flood warnings still in place, I have to disagree with your assessment from the weekend that this is not a ‘national emergency.’ If this had happened in Surrey, not Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it seems far more likely that a national emergency would have been declared. Every year we don’t act means higher flood waters, more homes ruined and more lives at risk due to climate change.

“The Government also must ensure that the insurance industry fulfils its responsibilities. In addition, going forward the industry must continue to provide insurance at an affordable level to householders.

“I urge you again to hold a COBRA meeting to ensure all is being done to help the families affected.

“Yours sincerely,

“Jeremy Corbyn.”