Minister says it would be ‘wrong’ for PM to turn up for photographs with flood victims

PUBLISHED: 10:30 23 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 February 2020

Boris Johnson visited the people of Derbyshire after the floods during the general election campaign. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

Boris Johnson visited the people of Derbyshire after the floods during the general election campaign. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Welsh minister David Davies has defended Boris Johnson after the prime minister was criticised for not visiting flood-hit areas of the country.

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Johnson has not visited flooded areas, including Monmouth in Wales, where rescue operations have been carried out to help those affected.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales said that it was wrong for politicians and actors to pretend to be rescue workers.

Asked why Johnson has not been seen since the flooding hit Monmouth, Davies said: "No... I think that if Boris Johnson had popped up with a TV crew and a load of people taking selfies in the middle of a rescue operation, you would have quite rightly had me on to your programme to say, 'What on Earth is he thinking he's doing, why is he getting in the way?'.

"Especially when the chief executive of this very council, in one of the worst affected areas, specifically asked politicians to stay away and keep out of it until the rescue operation had taken place."

He added: "Politicians or actors pretending that we're rescue workers is the wrong thing to do.

"Secondly, and I'm very acutely aware of this as a Welsh Office minister and as a former member of the Welsh Assembly myself, I'm very well aware of what the Welsh Assembly is responsible for and what the UK government is responsible for.

"I'm acutely aware of the sensitivity of UK government ministers like myself, or for that matter Boris Johnson, going in here and trying to pretend we're responsible for things that are actually the responsibility of the Welsh government.

"First of all it's the wrong thing to do and secondly, it causes damage to our relationships."

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