Somerset Levels Tory MP launches 'brutal' attack on Environment Agency chief: 'I will flush his head down the loo'

Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger made the comments as Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith visits flood stricken Somerset Levels for first time

A Tory MP for Somerset has launched an astonishing attack on the Environment Agency chief, calling him a ‘coward’ and a ‘git’, and even threatening to ‘stick his head down the loo’.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, made the comments as Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith prepared to visit the flood stricken Somerset Levels for the first time since the crisis struck.

Mr Liddell-Grainger also called on Lord Smith to quit during his tirade: “I will tell him what I bloody well think of him - he should go, he should walk,” he said.

“I'm livid. This little git has never even been on the telephone to me. When I find out where he is, I will give it to him. He's a coward.”

Arriving at the Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre in Stoke St Gregory, Lord Smith dismissed calls for his resignation. In the lead up to the visit, he had refused to release details of the trip.

Marines drafted in to evacuate Somerset residents

"I have no intention of resigning because I'm very proud of the work the Environment Agency and its staff have been doing right round the country in the face of the most extreme weather," he said.

Asked why he had not apologised to residents, he said: “I have said to the people here what we did last year, what we've been preparing now, the work we're currently doing, and I think the important thing now is to work out what we can do for the future of Somerset, what can now happen, and that's what I'm primarily talking about with the local people here.”

Lord Smith also denied making the controversial comment that Britain may have to choose whether it wants to save “town or country” from future flooding because it is too costly to defend both.

“I have never said it is a choice between saving the town and saving the country," he said.

“What I have said is that the clear priorities that have been set for us by successive governments is: our top priority is protecting lives; our second priority is protecting people's homes and people's businesses; our third priority is protecting as much agricultural land as we can.

"That's the order of priority, that happens in both the town and the country."

The agency has been under fire from some residents who believe river dredging could have helped reduce flooding.

Lord Smith said: “What we need to do is find the best possible ways - dredging is probably one of the ways but it's not the only way - and there will be lots of other things we need to see if we can do in order to try and protect Somerset for the future.”

Atlantic storm Ruth to batter Britain this weekend

Speaking to LBC radio this morning before Lord Smith’s visit, Mr Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “They won’t tell me where he’s going, but I’m going to get him. I’ve got my farmers, I’ve all got my landowners, waiting for this guy.

“If I just have to stick his head down the loo and flush, I will, because he is going to get this message. He is going to get this message. I don’t care how long it takes, and I don’t care how nasty and brutal we all are about it. They are going to learn.”

He added: “I hope he falls in the river. I don’t mean that cruelly, but I do hope he drops in the river so he can see what we are living with. This man has done an awful lot of damage.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent