Government must show flood victims it is on top of crisis

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A resident looks out across the river Thames that has flooded Datchet in Berkshire
A resident looks out across the river Thames that has flooded Datchet in Berkshire Photo: Will Oliver/PA Wire

As the winds lash coastal areas and the rain hammers down across the South West this morning, the Prime Minister will continue his visit to the region today.

David Cameron stayed overnight, having shunted Tuesday's regular Cabinet meeting in Downing Street to Thursday.

This morning, Mr Cameron will be in Devon and Somerset as he tries to put an end to the political row between his ministers and the chairman of the Environment Agency.

David Cameron with Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (right) during a visit to Goodings Farm in Fordgate, Somerset
David Cameron with Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (right) during a visit to Goodings Farm in Fordgate, Somerset Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

While the Prime Minister says those affected by flooding don't care about some Westminster-village argument - the row encapsulates the government's problem over the flooding crisis.

It has been accused of acting too late and ministers accused of failing to see the affected areas for themselves.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Environment Agency bosses have been locked in an unedifying blame game over the last 48 hours.

Volunteers towing residents of Wraysbury in Berkshire to safety
Volunteers towing residents of Wraysbury in Berkshire to safety Credit: ITV News/Rupert Evelyn

Number 10 stresses this visit to the South West is the fifth such visit the Prime Minister has made across the South and East since the start of the stormy weather and there have been more than 20 emergency Cobra meetings in Whitehall.

But as another weather front sweeps across the country today, and the focus switches to some severe problems on the River Thames, the government's got a lot of work to do to convince those affected by the historic rainfall that it's on top of this crisis.