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Where are you Boris?: ‘Too little, too late’ as PM yet to visit flood-hit Shropshire towns

By Nick Humphreys | Shrewsbury | Environment | Published: | Last Updated:

“Too little, too late” was today the response to any prospect of the Prime Minister visiting Shropshire’s flood-hit towns.

Environment Secretary George Eustice is accompanied by a member of the Environment Agency during a visit to the Wharfage in Ironbridge

Environment Secretary George Eustice arrived in Ironbridge and Shrewsbury – almost a fortnight after the first River Severn floods.

But there is no sign of Boris Johnson visiting any flooded communities, despite criticism of his absence.

Those suffering the crisis say they feel forgotten by Westminster politicians.

Retired Major Malhi, 69, from Ironbridge, said: “If you’re a leader, a team captain or even a monarch, coming down gives the workers and volunteers a lift. They get to see their hard work is being recognised.

“They’re not after recognition – but a visit from Boris would be a boost.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice in Ironbridge

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Jack Bayliss, of The Falcon Hotel in Low Town, Bridgnorth, said: “I think they should come and see what’s happened, but I’m not in the slightest surprised. I haven’t even seen a local MP.”

In Shrewsbury, Ollie Parry, boss of The Salopian Bar in Smithfield Road, said: “I would have thought Boris would have turned up. Other places have had it just as bad if not worse and he hasn’t been there either.”

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George Eustice breezed through Ironbridge and Shrewsbury, offering sympathy to those affected by floods.

His arrival was welcomed, but there remained a sense among those in both towns that their plight had been forgotten by those in the corridors of power in Westmister.

Boris Johnson spoke of the crisis on the River Severn after being questioned by the region’s MPs in Question Time, saying general funding was being increased for Britain’s flood defences.

Environment Secretary George Eustice views a screen showing drone camera images of flood defences

But the Prime Ministers’s absence from any of the UK’s flood-hit regions has been noticed by those mopping up in Shropshire.

And the visit of the Environment Secretary almost a fortnight after the first floods brought little comfort to those affected.

Ken Edwards, from Belle Vue, said: “I’d have thought we would have seen Boris but to be perfectly honest I think we could do without the circus.

“Businesses and homeowners are far too busy trying to save what they’ve got left to be putting up with all that kind of nonsense. If he had something to announce, like a plan to stop it happening again, fine. But I don’t see the point in politicians turning up here just to stand in a puddle in their wellies, go and talk to two business people before getting back in their limos and disappearing to London again.”

Kay Cartwright, owner of The Little Flower Shop, also in Low Town, said: “They ought to come out, but at the end of the day what’s it going to change?

“It would be too little, too late. It should have been dealt with before. I don’t even think it would necessarily lift spirits – it depends who you support politically.”

Martin Lunt, of Lunt’s Pharmacies which has a branch just off Smithfield Road, remained coy on whether he thought the PM should have been here, but said: “I know Daniel Kawczynski has been discussing what could be done with George Eustice. That is something that will seriously need to be followed up.”

'A horrendous few days'

Anne Davies, from Castlefields, said: “I think he should have come, absolutely. They were all in Shropshire for the General Election campaign. Now we’ve got this massive issue he’s nowhere to be seen – it’s not very good at all.”

Alan Jefferies, from Coton Hill, added: “It’s been a horrendous few days. Everyone’s had enough. I don’t think there’s been much of a response from government. It could have been better. I’d like to see them come up with some answers. This has been devastating for the town.”

While a severe ‘danger to life’ warning remained in Ironbridge, weary residents said a visit was much-needed.

Major Malhi, from Ironbridge, said: “If you’re a leader, a team captain or even a monarch, coming down gives the workers and volunteers a lift. They get to see their hard work is being recognised.

“They’re not after recognition, but it would boost morale. They’re doing a great job. It’s only at times like this that you see them like this. We dismiss them a lot of the time, because we don’t see them.

“Boris wouldn’t be able to physically do anything. But forget the PR, because that’s all they seem to do it for, it gives people a lift.”

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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