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Boris Johnson heckled as a 'traitor' while visiting flood-hit Worcestershire | Politics

Boris Johnson has been met with cries of “traitor” after arriving in flood-hit Worcestershire more than three weeks after the crisis began.

The prime minister arrived on the banks of the River Severn in Bewdley on Sunday afternoon, and was taken to view flood defences by Environment Agency staff.

However, some members of the public heckled Johnson in fury that he has stayed away from the affected areas until now – instead spending the half-term break in one of the government’s grace-and-favour mansions in Kent.

Johnson told residents he would “get Bewdley done” and said he was “so sorry to hear it” when he was told that some homes had been overwhelmed by as much as 2ft of water.

He later tweeted a video of him surrounded by well-wishers and
those who wanted selfies. As he walked around the town, many asked to
shake his hand and shouted friendly greetings, but one person heckled
him with “do your fucking job”.

Johnson visits Bewdley to see recovery efforts following the recent flooding

Johnson visits Bewdley to see recovery efforts following the recent flooding. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

After speaking to the Environment Agency officials, he said they discussed “what permanent defences can we put in and what’s the business case”.

He added: “What we’re doing is we are doubling the funding for flood defences to £5.2bn, and we’re also going to be looking at all the things we can do upstream.”

The extra money for flood defences is due to be announced at Wednesday’s budget by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor. He will say flood defence spending will increase from £2.6bn to £5.2bn between 2015 and 2021, giving protection to 336,000 homes in England through 2,000 new schemes.

However, Johnson’s reluctance to visit flood-hit areas himself has led to criticism from Labour that he is a “part-time prime minister”.

Last week, the prime minister claimed he had been advised to stay away by emergency services in case he got in the way.

Speaking to ITV’s This Morning, he said: “They [the emergency services] said to us: ‘All you’ll do is distract us and disrupt the business of helping people with the immediate crisis.’ So what I was doing was directing operations … Obviously, I’m working around the clock on various things, as indeed is the government.”

Critics have pointed out that he found time to visit flooded areas of the north of England during the election campaign when he was seeking votes.

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