Owen Paterson went on to praise the under-fire Environment Agency for its response to widespread flooding:
Since the start of last December, the UK as a whole has experienced a period of exceptionally unsettled weather and there is no sign at present of its abating.
Many parts of the country have been subjected to flooding from the sea, rivers, surface water or groundwater, and I am extremely grateful for the excellent response by the emergency services, the Environment Agency and flood forecasting centre staff and the leadership shown by many local authorities in responding to the floods.
More top news
An independent investigation has begun into finances at taxpayer-funded Broadmoor Hospital.
While the economy has shown signs of improving, the number of UK companies issuing profit warnings has hit a six-year high, research shows.
The Child Support Agency has collected £1.2 billion in maintenance over the past year, with £330 million coming direct from pay packets.