‘Why are you actually here?’: Ed Miliband just latest political wally in wellies to tour flood-struck Britain
After politicians were dubbed 'flood tourists', David Cameron insisted he always tries to make sure his visits are 'for a purpose'
They are trying to look like they are at the forefront of the UK’s crisis response – but politicians visiting flood-hit areas seem only to be getting in the way.
Increasingly met with anger from local residents calling for soldiers rather than sound-bites, the likes of David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Philip Hammond and Nick Clegg have all been pictured donning wellies in recent days.
Yesterday morning the Defence Secretary, Mr Hammond, was ensnared live on TV by a furious resident of Wraysbury, Berkshire, who asked just what it was he could offer to do while there.
Apparently undeterred, the Labour leader, Mr Miliband, appeared no more than a few hours later on a trip to see victims of the flooding in Purley on Thames.
He was promptly confronted by Alok Sharma, the Conservative MP for Reading West, who asked: “Why are you actually here?”
In a press conference last night called to address the flood crisis that has hit southern Britain, the Prime Minister warned of disruption and property damage that will last for a “depressingly long period of time”.
And while he was invited to make no-doubt welcome pledges that “money is no object” in terms of spending on relief efforts, it was also put to Mr Cameron that he was better off leading action in Westminster than becoming the latest so-called political “flood tourist”.
“I always make sure my visits are for a purpose,” he said. “I try and get the balance right.”
The Prime Minister has cancelled a planned trip to the Middle East so that he can continue to “lead the national response” to the floods, and proclaimed that 1,600 soldiers had already been deployed - later corrected to 600.
According to reports in the Telegraph, when a journalist asked a resident of the Somerset Levels if it “meant anything” to them that the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was visiting, she replied: “No. Nothing whatsoever.”
Last week, the under-fire Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith made perhaps the most calamitous visit to the floods of all.
He received what was described as a “frosty reception” in Somerset, and after a subsequent Newsnight appearance an MP in the county launched a furious attack on the peer.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said he had signed a petition calling for Lord Smith to be sacked and asked: “How did he come across to you? Smug? Arrogant? Self-satisfied? Or all three?”
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...
£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...