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
Greater Manchester Police said "inquiries are ongoing to fully understand the circumstances of the incident."
The US president enjoyed rousing support for his political agenda as a formerly hostile audience cheered his plans in office to the rafters.
The former leader said the party needed to learn lessons after his successor Paul Nuttall failed to unseat Labour in a hard-fought campaign.