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
Freezing with ice, rain, sleet & snow
A new statue of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has been unveiled in Kolkata, India.
Claire Neal, 39, allowed her Staffordshire bull terrier to escape and attack a playground full of children in a terrifying attack.