Flooding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:59 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:59 pm, 4th March 2020

Having more natural solutions to flooding is part of the solution; it is not the sole solution, but it is a very important part, and I will come on to that in a moment.

Our motion makes a very simple ask—one that I am amazed but not surprised that Ministers are running from: that we have an investigation to learn the lessons from the floods, an investigation that will seek to protect more homes and businesses in the future, an investigation that will look at the difficulties people encounter in buying affordable insurance for their homes and businesses and in receiving timely pay-outs, an investigation into what measures are required from Government to fund flood protections and upstream catchment management measures and to resource emergency responses.

When choosing the wording of the motion, the Opposition had two choices: we could have chosen wording that went hard on a part-time Prime Minister who was missing in action throughout the floods, a part-time Prime Minister who refused to call a Cobra meeting and unlock the scale of funding necessary for flooded communities, a part-time Prime Minister who failed to show national leadership when it was required; or we could choose wording that could unify the House in a sensible effort to learn the lessons, calmly and sincerely, from this disastrous series of floods. Labour chose to rise above that partisan debate, which is why every single Member of the House should feel able to support our motion. How is learning the lessons from an incident—in a review of what actions took place, what actions did not work as well as was hoped and of where improvements could be made—not a sensible and proportionate step to take after a national emergency such as the recent floods?