THE PRIME Minister is facing growing criticism for failing to visit parts of the country devastated by flooding, despite doing so before the General Election.

Boris Johnson is also under fire for not convening a Cobra emergency meeting over the latest chaos caused by Storm Dennis, with thousands of homes damaged and property destroyed.

Yesterday 12 flood alerts, and 11 flood warnings were in place in Scotland, with areas including Pitlochry, Coupar Angus and Crieff placed on high alert for further problems today.

In England, nearly 500 warnings were in effect – the highest number on record.

Labour’s Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard MP said Johnson was “missing in action” at a time of “serious trouble”.

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He said: “There are nearly 600 flood warnings in place, communities from the South West up to the Highlands are in serious trouble, and it is thought five people have died in this weekend’s storm.

“It is a disgrace that Boris Johnson has refused to visit communities affected by the flooding, and that the government has not convened Cobra. That must be done immediately.

“The Prime Minister was slow enough to act during the General Election, but now he is not campaigning for votes he is completely missing in action.”

During a Downing Street briefing, a spokesman for the Prime Minister highlighted that George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, had visited Yorkshire and said it was right that he and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) were leading on the issue.

The spokesman said Johnson was receiving “regular updates” and added: “For anybody affected, flooding is terrible. As such, we set out measures in advance to try to help people. We have activated the Bellwin scheme[reimbursement money] to try to support local authorities and the public.”

Asked why Johnson felt the need to visit flooded areas before the election but not after, the spokesman again said he would receive regular updates.

Eustice said yesterday he had been visiting flood-hit areas on Johnson’s behalf, and added: “I’ve been in regular contact with officials on this. And we had a conference call with all of the flood resilience forums on Friday, and I’m in regular contact with all ministerial colleagues.

“The Government has a firm grip on this. And it’s a very difficult situation – widespread flood alerts – but our flood defences are working.

Tory MP Philip Davies said “precious little” had changed since the severe flooding of 2015 and urged the government “to pull its finger out”, while the Lib Dems also called for the prime minister to take action.

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Acting leader Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson’s response to these floods has been shocking. He seems determined to pretend they’re not even happening.

“[He] must take this crisis far more seriously and hold a COBRA meeting to coordinate the country’s response. These floods are not the first we’ve had, but yet again show how funding to protect homes and small businesses is woefully inadequate.

“We are facing a climate emergency and regrettably severe weather episodes like this are likely to become more common. The Conservative government has got to raise its game.”

Meanwhile the environment agency has issued a warning,urging people to continue monitoring weather safety advice following the weekend’s storm.

The agency said there was “ongoing significant river flooding” which would continue to affect areas throughout the week.

More than 1000 staff members have been deployed to help with the flood protection measures, with officials claiming that 5km of flood barriers which were installed have protected almost 20,000 properties from the impact of storm Dennis.

Toby Willison, executive director of operations at the Environment Agency, said: “Every home flooded is a tragedy for that family and our hearts go out to all those who have been flooded during Storm Dennis. Our teams will continue to work 24/7, alongside the Police, Fire and Rescue, local authorities, to reduce the risk of flooding and keep communities safe.

“With the effects of climate change, we are seeing more frequent periods of extreme weather. It is important for people to be aware of their flood risk and stay safe by signing up for flood warnings and making a flood plan.”