Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

War of Words Deepens over Flood Repair Funds

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

War of Words Deepens over Flood Repair Funds

Article excerpt

Byline: Rory Tingle Reporter

AFIERCE war of words has broken out over flood funding in Northumberland, with one of the county's Tory MPs accusing the council leader of a "low grade" attempt to spin the issue for his own benefit.

Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, and Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan were joined by Floods Minister Rory Stewart in criticising Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey's claim that they had failed to "stick up for their constituents".

Councillor Davey argued that the Northumberland MPs had not done enough to convince the Government to reimburse his council's spending on flood relief after Storm Desmond.

But they hit back, with Mr Opperman saying that Mr Davey was trying to "play politics" with the floods.

Mrs Trevelyan said she was "somewhat bemused" by Coun Davey's comments, as she had offered her full support to Northumberland County Council but this had not been taken up.

Mr Stewart added Northumberland will receive money to make up for flood recovery costs, and that Mr Davey was "simply wrong" to suggest otherwise.

Coun Davey said his comments were "reasonable" and that communication from the Government had been "non-existent".

But the Hexham MP called Coun Davey "worrying out of touch".

He said: "These are people's homes and livelihoods that have been devastated.

"For Coun Davey to try and play games with such a crisis is pretty low grade stuff.

"The local people I have met recently want the county council to get on with helping our local communities, not waste time and effort trying to score cheap political points.

"Northumberland will be getting a fair deal on flood funding."

Mrs Trevelyan added: "I was somewhat bemused by Coun Davey's aggressive comments regarding flooding funding, as I met with the chief executive of Northumberland County Council before Christmas to discuss flooding matters and I offered my full support if required. …

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