The deputy Labour leader said Boris Johnson was “missing in action” while “Britain burned” after the Tory leader missed Monday afternoon’s Cobra emergency committee on the extreme temperatures. Angela Rayner told the House of Commons: “The caretaker minister opposite says it’s his job to chair COBRA meetings but it should be the job of the Prime Minister to lead.
“Yesterday the remaining cabinet gave the Prime Minister the complete volumes of Sir Winston Churchill as a leaving gift, but he is no Churchill.. he has been missing in action.
“Can the minister tell us where he was as the country burned? Where was he when COBRA was called last weekend – has the Prime Minister attended any talks with ministers or senior officials in the days since?
“Isn’t it the truth that the Prime Minister and his entire Government have gone missing while Britain burns?”
Winding up the debate for Labour, the party’s deputy leader added: “Inspired not by Churchill or even Thatcher but… by Trump. The truth is that this Prime Minister is the danger to our democracy and to our national security every day he clings on.”
She listed Tory MP’s criticisms of the Government’s record, saying: “His former chancellor (Rishi Sunak) said the next prime minister would have to restore trust, rebuild our economy and re-unite our country.
“For all the bluster we heard from members opposite today, I think those damning words say it all.”
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“Over the last ten years, the funding and staffing of fire and rescue services has been cut and response times have gone up by eight percent.
“Yesterday, no mutual aid was available to services facing literal fire storms.
“Mr Speaker this statement today is far too late. The impact of this heatwave was completely predictable, so why the delay in coming to this house? It has literally taken the country to go up in flames for the minister to turn his focus on this emergency.”
She also accused the Tory leadership hopefuls of leaving the UK “vulnerable to more freak natural disasters”.
The Labour MP added: “Climate change will cause more and more national emergencies like this, from heatwaves, to fires, floods and pandemics.
“But as we have seen over the past week the leadership contenders are doing their hardest to outbid each other on how they would cut action on climate change.
“They will leave us vulnerable to more freak natural disasters.”