We shall STILL not be moved! Handful of Ironbridge diehards snub evacuation order amid looting fears after ‘virtually all’ of town flee as flood barriers are set to burst any minute… with MORE rain on the way
- Residents of Ironbridge in Shropshire heard loud bang followed by gushing sound as flood defences buckled
- Police warn flood-hit families to expect ‘another ten days of difficult conditions’ with further rain on the way
- Snow and 0.6in (15mm) of rain falling on heavily saturated areas today, before further 2.4in (60mm) tomorrow
- Flooding along parts of Severn, which is now at or close to all-time high levels, is likely until at least Sunday
- Rural insurer NFU Mutual estimates it will pay out £36million for insurance claims for storms Ciara and Dennis
- ** Have you taken any photographs of flooding where you are? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org **
Flood-hit residents in Ironbridge refused to leave their homes today amid fears over looting as they praised the community for ‘looking out for each other’ amid warnings over a further ten days of misery.
People living in riverside homes in the Shropshire town stayed put despite hearing a loud bang yesterday followed by a gushing sound as emergency flood defences that had held out for a week finally gave way to the Severn.
Gareth Anderson, 50, who lives next to the Wharfage area of the town, has stayed in his home for two weeks now and said today: ‘I haven’t left. I don’t see the need to leave. The community here is one that will help each other.’
Mr Anderson added that he was concerned by reports of looters, saying: ‘A few night ago a group of young lads were hanging around asking if people were in their homes. I said every house was occupied. We all look out for each other down here. It’s crazy that a time like this people have to protect their home.’
But West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: ‘We have not received any reports of looting in Ironbridge. We have officers out and about in the town throughout the day and night who are very much still responding to the flooding in the local area as well as providing reassurance and a visible presence.’
Some 35 properties have been evacuated, with police saying said ‘virtually all’ residents have now left. Among those staying put was Elizabeth Maiden, 88, who said from her home : ‘I’ve lived here for 80 years and it was worse than this in 1947 and 2000. Do I want to be evacuated? No. Where would I go? I can’t see any point in leaving.’
Police have warned flood-hit families across Shropshire and Worcestershire, where evacuations have been taking place in towns throughout this week, to expect ‘another ten days of difficult conditions’ with more heavy rain due.
Snow also affected Britain today, and 0.6in (15mm) of rain fell on heavily saturated areas, before a further 2.4in (60mm) across tomorrow and Saturday in Wales and northern England – when 70mph winds are also expected.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declined to say whether he will be visiting areas where people have been made homeless by recent floods, while visiting the headquarters of a charity for the homeless this morning.
Flood barriers in Ironbridge, Shropshire, are pictured this morning – one day after residents were told to leave their homes
Thousands of residents living near the Severn face flooding, with a 100-mile stretch of the river issued with flood warnings
Flooded properties in the Shropshire town of Ironbridge today after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed by water
Flooding in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes
Flood barriers in Ironbridge, Shropshire, are pictured today after being pushed back – although they are still holding up
The swollen River Severn gushes under the Iron Bridge in the Shropshire town today as residents were told to evacuate
West Mercia Police told people in the Wharfage area of Ironbridge to leave their homes and businesses and said the force’s presence on the ground will ‘continue for the next ten days’ before things get back to normal.
Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss said: ‘We are monitoring closely with colleagues at the Environment Agency, and an operational plan is in place with Shropshire Fire and Rescue should it be required.’
Flooding along parts of the swollen Severn, which is now at or close to all-time high levels, is likely until at least Sunday, the Environment Agency said. A severe flood warning for the river at Wharfage remained in place today.
There are 93 standard flood warnings and 134 alerts across England. A yellow weather warning of snow and ice was issued for much of the Midlands this morning, including the River Severn, and parts of the South.
Speaking about the rain, Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: ‘It’s not just the snow, there’s going to be a fair bit of rainfall mixed in with it. It’s not going to be large amounts, but it could be falling on heavily saturated areas.’
Among those staying put in Ironbridge today was Sarah Morris, 35, who runs Ironbridge Fine Art and last night slept in the back of her car to man her flood pumps.
She said: ‘We’re trying to deal with it in the best way we can. The water has gone down but the Environment Agency are saying it will peak again so we can’t clean up.
Brooke Evans, 26, (left) owns a hair salon on Dale End close to the Wharfage. She has spent close to two weeks sleeping in the salon manning the water pumps. While Jennifer Alexander (right) has been evacuated and told how her pub, the Boat Inn, was flooded early on Sunday morning
Ambulances and police vehicles in Ironbridge, Shropshire, today after residents in the area were told to leave their homes
Emergency services workers monitor the flooding in Ironbridge today after temporary flood barriers were overwhelmed
Evacuees from the Wharfage area of Ironbridge have been moved to the town’s Valley Hotel (pictured today)
People stand on the Iron Bridge in the Shropshire town today after residents in riverside properties were told to evacuate
‘Last night we slept in the car to make sure the pumps could keep going. We’ve seen quite a few people moving around and we’re concerned about our stuff.’
Prime Minister hails help for flood victims but declines to confirm visit to affected areas
Boris Johnson has declined to say whether he will visit areas where people have been made homeless by recent floods – while he toured the headquarters of a charity for the homeless.
Speaking at The Connection at St Martin’s in central London, the Prime Minister instead focused on how the ‘massive issue’ of flooding ‘presents an opportunity’ for job creation.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a visit to the Connection homelessness centre in London today
Mr Johnson has been criticised for failing to visit flood-hit zones in Worcestershire and Shropshire, where residents have been forced to evacuate their homes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously accused Mr Johnson of being a ‘part-time Prime Minister’ due to his absence in affected areas.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Johnson said: ‘There’s a massive issue about flood defences, and we have put £2.6 billion in and we will be investing another £4 billion.
‘This is something that is absolutely critical for our country to tackle.
‘I think it also presents an opportunity, because in the whole business of green technology flood defences, planting trees, all the ways in which we are going to insulate our country against flooding, there are opportunities for job creation as well.
‘We have a fantastic system called cabinet government, and we have been working around the clock since these last floods really began.
‘This latest spate, to deal with them we mobilised the bell-wind scheme, £5,000 if they have suffered particular damage.
‘Businesses get £2,500 to get them back on their feet.’
Housing Minister Robert Jenrick, who visited the homelessness charity alongside the Prime Minister, said Mr Johnson is ‘very much in control’ of the flooding.
Evacuees from the Wharfage area of Ironbridge have been moved to the town’s Valley Hotel and are in high spirits. Sean Osborne, 66, has lived on the Wharfage for the last decade and spent last night in the hotel.
His house is directly opposite the flood barrier. He said: ‘The barrier is tried and tested but like anything no one knows what to expect. For me it wasn’t scary. I had confidence in the barrier.
‘I went outside and went up to the railings and looked over and saw the power of the water, it was amazing. If there had been a problem with the barrier it would have been like a tsunami, that would have been the affect.’
‘I was quite happy to stay there and some of my neighbours were the same. I got a call at 3am from the Environment Agency and then some calls from the council.
‘I had eight calls in total saying the river would peak imminently. I thought I’d stay so I could monitor what was going on. I wouldn’t drown because I’d go upstairs, that was the calculated risk.
‘But they still wanted people to leave so I said would you be happy if I left and they said yes. I said alright then, I’d go if it keeps them happy, why should I mess things up? I don’t know when we’ll be able to go back.’
Jennifer Alexander, of the Boat Inn, who has also been evacuated, said: ‘At Sunday at 2.40am I woke up and saw the water was in the pub. I woke my husband up and said we need to get out now.
‘It’s quite stressful. We flood regularly so we’ve done this many times before. It’s the same as the floods of 2000. We don’t have any money coming in. We thought we had Monday morning to do some last minute preparations. It wasn’t scary as such, just acceptance that here we go again.’
And Chris Harrison, 47, who owns the Dale End café, said: ‘I’m angry. We haven’t finished working the cost of this yet but on equipment alone it’s probably £6,000 in damage. This is a community cafe, not a tourist cafe. People turned up at 3am to help us.’
Brooke Evans, 26, owns a hair salon on Dale End close to the Wharfage. She has spent close to two weeks sleeping in the salon manning the water pumps.
She said: ‘We’ve survived with people being in high spirits. As a business it’s been a bit difficult but no one has died. If we had left it would have meant no one would have been here to man the pumps and get the water out.’
The Environment Agency said buckled temporary flood defences were likely to be inspected on today – with the prospect of 650ft (200m) of spare barrier equipment being used to realign or reinforce any damaged sections.
Speaking at Ironbridge, EA environment manager Marc Lidderth said: ‘They did become compromised in some parts but they have stayed together and have held the vast majority of that floodwater away from the properties.
Flood water surrounds Worcester city centre today as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave
Jennifer Alexander explained how she saw water in her pub on Sunday. She said: ‘It’s quite stressful… We thought we had Monday morning to do some last minute preparations. It wasn’t scary as such, just acceptance that here we go again’
Gareth Anderson, 50, who lives next to the Wharfage area of the town, has stayed in his home for two weeks now and said today: ‘I haven’t left. I don’t see the need to leave’
Chris Harrison, 47, who owns the Dale End café (pictured inside the flooded business), said: ‘I’m angry. We haven’t finished working the cost of this yet but on equipment alone it’s probably £6,000 in damage. This is a community cafe, not a tourist cafe. People turned up at 3am to help us’
Flood water surrounds Worcester city centre today, as residents in riverside properties near the Severn have been evacuated
Flooding has deluged Worcestershire County Cricket Club after the River Severn burst its banks. The ground is pictured today
Flood water surrounds Worcester today as residents in riverside properties in the area have been told to leave their homes
An aerial view of flooding in Worcester today where the River Severn has broken its banks and caused chaos
A McDonald’s restaurant and shopping centre are surrounded by water in Worcester city centre this morning
‘To help with our assessment of the barriers we need the water levels to obviously drop to a certain level which makes it safe for our operatives. We’re expecting that to be hopefully tomorrow.’
The River Severn reached its highest ever level of 5.77m (19ft) today after another night of heavy rain.
Dave Throup, Environment Agency manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said 500 tonnes of water – the equivalent to six HGVs – was flowing through the city of Worcester every second.
Aerial photographs of the city show Worcestershire Country Cricket ground and several rugby and football pitches flooded. Only the tops of goal posts were visible on several pitches near the Severn illustrating the depth of the water.
Ade Cartwright, 50, and his family were forced to leave their home when it became apparent they would flood again. He said: ‘My wife and I left, along with most of the neighbours. The city council have put us up in the Fownes Hotel.
‘We are managing but it is difficult living in one room together, 24 hours a day. Last weekend it came into the house, luckily we were prepared, once the water receded we managed to clear it up with a few friends within four hours.
‘Now it has happened again we have decided to leave. We can’t do anything until the levels drop and I don’t envisage that happening until the weekend.’
The floodwater is also creeping closer to homes on a road where a large number of elderly people live. Kim Weston said she was concerned for her parents’ wellbeing as water threatened to consume the elderly couple’s home.
People in the Midlands have been told to prepare for another ten days of difficult conditions. Worcester is pictured today
New Road cricket ground has been left underwater in Worcester today after the River Severn broke its banks
An aerial view of flooding in Worcester today after the River Severn burst its banks and caused chaos in the city
An aerial view of flooding in Worcester today as severe weather continues to affect parts of Britain
Buildings have been left half-submerged in Worcester with the severe flooding causing chaos around the city
She said: ‘The water is dangerously close to the properties, it has never been this close before. I am very concerned that my parents’ house will flood. The road has been closed but cars continue to speed down it.
‘It is causing the water to ripple and splash up the brickwork. I wish they would put a proper blockade to stop people driving through the floodwater. It is making matters worse.
‘We have received no official advice about what to do in this situation, I feel like we have been left to fend for ourselves a bit. It is really disappointing.
‘I managed to get hold of the city council and asked for some sandbags only to find out they don’t provide them. If we do flood we have no precautions in place. It is a very poor show.’
** Have you taken any photographs of flooding where you are? Email them to email@example.com **
Worcester City Council said they did not provide sandbags because they were not effective in protecting against floods and could become contaminated by unhygienic floodwater.
A spokesperson said: ‘Our recommended approach for flood alleviation is through alterations to homes such as raising floors and the installation of barriers.
‘Financial support for these measures is potentially available through the Flood Support Funding scheme.’
A ‘swathe of wet weather’ from the South West is due to push in overnight and into today, when two yellow weather warnings of snow have been issued by the Met Office.
England has received more than 200 per cent of its average February rainfall, according to the EA, with some areas experiencing a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours.
Toby Willison, executive director of operations at the EA, said: ‘Our operational teams continue to work night and day to protect communities alongside the River Severn, which is experiencing record levels.
‘River levels will remain exceptionally high on the Severn for some time and communities, in particular Shrewsbury, Bewdley, Bridgnorth and Ironbridge, should prepare for potentially ongoing severe flooding.’
As the EA said that flooding is expected to continue into the weekend across parts of England, Boris Johnson was criticised by Jeremy Corbyn over his ‘silent’ response to flooding across the country.
An aerial view of flooding in Worcester this morning where the River Severn has broken its banks
Homes in parts of Worcestershire have been evacuated after water started pouring over defences. Worcester is seen today
An aerial view of flooding in Worcester today as people were told to prepare for another ten days of difficult conditions
A McDonald’s in Worcester city centre has been overwhelmed with flooding today with the local roads also underwater
But the Prime Minister said he was ‘proud’ of the response by ministers following the recent storms and defended the Government’s investment in flood defences.
The Met Office has forecast more heavy rain this morning
Speaking at The Connection in London today, Mr Johnson focused on how the ‘massive issue’ of flooding ‘presents an opportunity’ for job creation.
He said: ‘There’s a massive issue about flood defences, and we have put £2.6billion in and we will be investing another £4billion. This is something that is absolutely critical for our country to tackle.
‘I think it also presents an opportunity, because in the whole business of green technology flood defences, planting trees, all the ways in which we are going to insulate our country against flooding, there are opportunities for job creation as well.’
Operational teams have put up more than 3.7miles (6km) of temporary flood barriers across the country and flood defences have protected more than 34,184 properties over the last week.
Mr Johnson was accused by Labour leader Mr Corbyn of being a ‘part time Prime Minister’ after failing to visit areas hit by the floods.
However Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said such visits were often a ‘distraction’ which took away valuable resources from the emergency services.
‘He is very much in control of events. Over 100 of my constituents were flooded two weeks ago. What they are very concerned to see is action. They want to see more funding for flood defences,’ he told Sky News.
Flood barriers held back the River Severn at Ironbridge in Shropshire following an emergency evacuation in the town
The River Severn flows under the Iron Bridge in the Shropshire town of the same name overnight as the flood risk remains
A hovercraft was brought to Ironbridge overnight as flood barriers held at the town following an emergency evacuation
Flood barriers held at Ironbridge overnight after an emergency evacuation took place at the town yesterday
An ambulance command unit and TV satellite trucks at Ironbridge overnight following the emergency evacuation
‘They are pleased that the Government has activated quite a substantial package of financial support. Those are the really meaningful things which personally I think are more important than the distraction of the Prime Minister turning up in an emergency situation.’
In the SNOW lane: Up to four inches of the white stuff fell overnight as far south as London threatening chaos on the roads and rails with ’15 breakdowns expected every minute’ – and two days of rain to follow
Britons are battling another day of weather misery after snow fell over large swathes of the country and caused travel chaos this morning.
Four inches of snow fell on high ground overnight, with households as far south as London affected by wintery storms today.
Snow falls this morning in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire
People awoke to their cars, gardens and entire streets covered in a carpet of white from the Shetland Islands north of Scotland to the Home Counties.
Greater Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, the Cotswolds and the Chiltern Hills were the worst-hit by snow in England, while Glasgow got a considerable covering in Scotland and County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
A man battles snow in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, today
Roadside recovery company Green Flag is bracing itself for 15 weather-related breakdown call outs every minute between today and Sunday, predicting a total of 85,000 across the weekend.
The snow will be short-lived and turn to rain and sleet by this afternoon, with yellow warnings of another 2.5 inches of rain in place for the north of England and large parts of Wales on Friday and Saturday.
Forecasters have issued another warning for 60mph winds across much of England, Wales, some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland on both Saturday and Saturday, with 70mph threatening to batter coastal areas.
Yesterday, raging rivers, swollen by unprecedented rainfall, flooded several more towns. After a dramatic 24 hours, and with further downpours forecast, many flood victims were left asking: ‘Will this misery ever end?’
In Snaith, in East Yorkshire, residents were helped to safety on Tuesday night when the Aire burst its banks. Then early yesterday, homes in Bewdley, Worcestershire, were evacuated when water started pouring over the top of temporary defences.
Families and the elderly were rescued by boat. Others were seen being helped out of windows as the speed of the flood took everyone by surprise.
Hours later, 20 miles further north, residents in Ironbridge, Shropshire, heard a loud bang followed by a gushing sound as emergency flood defences that had held out for a week finally gave way under the sheer weight of water from the Severn.
Police went house to house urging anyone who had remained in the Wharfage area of the town to get out. The Environment Agency warned it was possible that floods there could reach 6ft deep.
In one riverside cottage, Elizabeth Maiden, 88, said: ‘I’ve lived here for 80 years and it was worse than this in 1947 and 2000. Do I want to be evacuated? No. Where would I go? I can’t see any point in leaving.’
In Bewdley, the fast-flowing Severn breached temporary defences on one bank, while on the other the 8ft-high £11million barriers installed after previous floods held firm.
GP David Hegarty, 53, who fled his 17th century cottage with his wife and two children, returned yesterday afternoon to retrieve some belongings and found the ground floor under 2ft of water.
‘We knew two days ago that the inevitable was going to happen,’ he said. ‘We put all our valuables upstairs but all things like sofas and the floors will be ruined. We live by a river and you’ve got to expect some flooding, but not like this.’
Two severe flood warnings – meaning there is a risk to life – remained in place last night, at Ironbridge and in Shrewsbury.
There were a further 96 flood warnings and 135 flood alerts stretching from the Lake District to the South Coast. The severe flooding across the country follows record rainfall for February, and further downpours are forecast.
But first, snow is set to cause disruption this morning, with up to 2in predicted – even in parts of southern England. The Met Office warned of falls on high ground as far south as the Cotswolds and Chilterns.
Rain will return tomorrow, with up to 2.5in forecast in less than 24 hours and weather warnings for central Wales – the source of the Severn and Wye rivers – and the Pennines. Further flooding is predicted.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual estimates it will pay out £36million for insurance claims across storms Ciara and Dennis over the past month. Most of the £20million worth of claims for Ciara relate to wind, while most of the £16million for Dennis relate to floods. It has had more than 5,000 claims for both so far.
To compare, Storm Doris in 2017 saw £11.5million of payouts, £36million for Storm Desmond in 2015, and £3million for the Yorkshire floods last November. Flood damage averages £20,000 per claim.
Aviva has seen a 285 per cent surge in calls and claims after the damage caused by Ciara. In December 2016, Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank hit areas of the UK and cost Direct Line up to £140million in claims.
The Environment Agency has imposed 93 flood warnings – one of which is severe – and 134 flood alerts in England today
The flood barriers next to the River Severn in the Wharfage area of Ironbridge are seen on February 18 (left) and yesterday (right) having been pushed back – although they are still holding up
An aerial of the River Severn when it is at normal levels (left) and the River Severn this week (right) which is full to bursting
Aerial images show heavy flooding on the River Severn in Buildwas, near Telford – in 2019 (left) and today (right)
Farmers will be paid to sacrifice their farmland when rivers flood, Environment Secretary George Eustice announced yesterday. This will allow fields to act as natural defences to protect homes, he said.
Flood-affected residents in East Yorkshire hit out at lack of assistance
Flood victims in East Yorkshire have criticised the lack of help they have received from the authorities as their homes and businesses were left submerged by water.
More residents in Snaith were advised to evacuate yesterday afternoon as water from the River Aire and surrounding washlands continued to rise.
Rescue workers in flooded Snaith in East Yorkshire this week
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said that some 100 homes had been affected by flooding, while warnings were out for a further 60 properties in nearby East Cowick.
Shaunna Caddle said she had no warning and did not have time to save her home, animals and business from the flood.
She said: ‘We rang the council and the Environment Agency and they said nothing, it was unlikely to happen, so we didn’t have time to move our furniture, our business is there, we’ve lost animals because we weren’t able to get them out, we’ve lost everything.’
Lisa Deakin said her father, 76-year-old Stuart Mellard, had received no help from the authorities and was not insured after his home flooded in 2000.
Describing the flood on Tuesday, she said: ‘It just came in and kept coming and kept coming and it’s waist-high, maybe a bit deeper than that now inside there.
‘He didn’t want to come out, he was sat in his slippers, watching his telly, remote in his hand, cup of tea, fire on. He didn’t realise it was going to come in.’
East Riding of Yorkshire Council said around 20 tonnes of sandbags had been distributed to properties most at risk of flooding.
A spokesman said council staff will continue to provide advice and assistance to residents and will be stationed at Snaith Priory Church, which is being used as a rest centre.
Other measures would include planting more trees, restoring peat bogs and reintroducing beavers to create natural dams.
He said that natural defences would be key as climate change leads to increased flooding. But he rejected calls for a public inquiry into Government handling of the floods.
And he defended Boris Johnson against criticism over his failure to visit flood-hit communities.
The Prime Minister’s presence on the ground would not have had made any difference to the response to the crisis, Mr Eustice said.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Shropshire Council has quit in the middle of the flooding crisis after the ruling Conservative group voted for him to resign.
Clive Wright stepped down on Wednesday. Sources said the response to the floods was among the reasons.
While flooding in England has made headline news, figures released by the Met Office reveal Falkirk and Stirling to be the wettest areas of the UK as records were broken across the country.
Both have seen 15.1in (383.3mm) fall up to February 24, 225 per cent of the average 6.7in (170.25mm) February rainfall in the areas.
Met Office figures to February 24 show the country as a whole has already had around double its average rainfall for the month.
The UK is now closing in on record February rainfall, and yet another downpour is forecast for tomorrow.
In the West of Scotland, 11.7in (297.3mm) rain fell, 208 per cent of the normal average for the month, while in the East of the country, there was 7.5in (190.9mm), 212 per cent of the average.
In West Yorkshire, the record was broken for the region when more than three times the average February rain had fallen – 8.3in (210.4mm) compared with an average of 2.6in (65.5mm).
Average figures for the UK as a whole show 6.9in (175mm) fell up to February 24, 199 per cent of the usual amount and close to the record of 7.6in (193.4mm) in 1990.
Heavy rain has come from Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, with numerous weather fronts crossing the country bringing prolonged downpours.
Oli Claydon, spokesman for the Met Office, said: ‘It appears records have already been broken for February rainfall.
‘The very wet conditions are occurring because the jet stream bringing a conveyor belt of Atlantic low pressure systems is sitting right above us.
‘This is not especially unusual in winter, but what is unusual this year is the intensity of the rain.’
** Have you taken any photographs of flooding where you are? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org **
Wife of Vladimir Putin ally ‘paid £45,000 for tennis match with Boris Johnson’ at Tory fundraiser ball the PM attended despite criticism for failing to visit flood victims
By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For MailOnline
The wife of a Vladimir Putin ally paid £45,000 for a tennis match with Boris Johnson at a Tory fundraiser, it was claimed today.
Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to billionaire former Russian minister Vladimir, has been named as the donor who shelled out for a place on court with the PM at the glitzy Black and White Ball on Tuesday night.
Mr Johnson has been heavily criticised for ‘schmoozing’ at the annual event in London despite failing to visit any victims of flooding – 12 days after the extreme weather started causing misery across the country.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a visit to the Connection homelessness centre in London today
He was branded a ‘part-time PM’ in the Commons yesterday and accused of going ‘awol’ during last week’s parliamentary recess, which he spent at the Chevening estate in Kent.
Banker Mrs Chernukhin, who is believed to be a British citizen, gave £200,000 to the Tory election campaign before Christmas, and enjoyed a night out with Theresa May and six female Cabinet members in April after donating £135,000 at a fundraiser.
In 2014 David Cameron faced questions after Mrs Chernukhin successfully bid £160,000 at a party fundraising dinner to play tennis against him and Mr Johnson.
The former PM was accused of hypocrisy over the donation, which came at a time when he was pushing for tougher Western sanctions against Moscow in response to its annexation of Crimea and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
However, the Tories insist all donations are properly declared and checked.
Boris Johnson pictured with guests at the Black and White Ball in south west London on Tuesday night
Lubov Chernukhin (pictured circled left, and right) has donated more than £1million to the Tories, including £135,000 to have tea with Theresa may in April last year as revealed by Liz Truss on Instagram
Video emerged of the premier at the ball last night, singing on stage with compere Wynne Evans, star of the Go Compare adverts.
As an awkward-looking Mr Johnson tried the first line of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the opera singer joked that he had a ‘touch of the John Redwoods’ – a reference to the former Cabinet minister’s notorious attempt to remember the Welsh national anthem.
Evans then sang ‘Land of My Fathers’, with Mr Johnson giving the traditional line ‘Ar hyd y nos’ to applause from the audience.
Mr Johnson also posed for pictures with prominent Conservative supporters at the event.
An anonymous donor paid £60,000 for gold and silver versions of the Brexit Day commemorative coin, and a signed copy of the Withdrawal Agreement.
A flight in a Lancaster Bomber with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is reported to have fetched £2,000.
More than 650 people paid £1,000 a head for tickers to the annual event in Battersea.
Jeremy Corbyn slammed the premier at PMQs yesterday for spending time raising cash for his party ‘instead of getting out there and supporting the people who are suffering’.
But Mr Johnson desperately tried to deflect criticism for failing to visit in 12 days since the floods hit, including last week when he stayed at the Chevening estate in Kent during the Commons recess,
He said he was ‘very proud’ of the government’s response, claiming there had been a ‘constant stream of activity’ from ministers despite him taking a back seat.
Jeremy Corbyn taunted Mr Johnson for ‘schmoozing’ at the glitzy Conservative Black & White ball fundraiser (pictured left) ‘instead of getting out there and supporting the people who are suffering’. A host of other ministers including Michael Gove (right) were also present
Video has emerged of Boris Johnson at the glitzy Black and White ball last night, singing on stage with compere Wynne Evans, star of the Go Compare adverts
Guests at the event in Battersea, south west London, on Tuesday night posted pictures of themselves with the PM
Mr Johnson posed for pictures with guests including blogger and author Anne Welsh last night
Boris Johnson took PMQs in the Commons yesterday after more than a week in which he has barely spoken a word in public
Those attending the event in Battersea on Tuesday night were handed a note from the PM thanking them for their support
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said today that visits by senior politicians were often a ‘distraction’ which took away valuable resources from the emergency services.
‘He (the PM) is very much in control of events. Over 100 of my constituents were flooded two weeks ago. What they are very concerned to see is action. They want to see more funding for flood defences,’ Mr Jenrick told Sky News.
‘They are pleased that the Government has activated quite a substantial package of financial support.
‘Those are the really meaningful things which personally I think are more important than the distraction of the Prime Minister turning up in an emergency situation.
‘The role of the Prime Minister is to ensure that the Government is responding effectively to an emergency situation. That is exactly what he has done.
‘What the Prime Minister is more concerned about is ensuring that the proper response is made by the emergency services, by local councils and the Environment Agency.
‘He is ensuring that his ministers are doing that.’
Flood-hit communities have lashed out at the government for its response to the severe weather conditions that have blitzed the country, and criticised the PM for his no-show in struggling areas such as Yorkshire, South Wales and the South West.
Storm Dennis hit on Saturday February 15, causing transport chaos as high-winds cancelled flights and rain lashed the sodden ground.
Just 12 hours later, and after torrential downpours overnight, various parts of the country were flooded, and 12 days later have still not been visited by Mr Johnson.
A lifesize dinosaur head pokes out of the high water in Stourport on Severn which is under major flooding after the River Severn burst its banks
Anger has been growing over the way the government has reacted since the bad weather first started three weeks ago when communities in Yorkshire were flooded after Storm Ciara, in scenes reminiscent of Boxing Day 2015.
Locals in Bewdley, Worcestershire – where the Severn has overcome flood defences – expressed anger at the PM yesterday.
Jane Taylor Cohen said: ‘It’s not good that Boris Johnson hasn’t showed up.
‘If he was here I would ask him ‘what are you going to do, these people need you’
‘I think a lot of people are going to be angry with him.’
A young girl looks out the window of her marooned home in Ironbridge after the River Severn burst it’s banks
Margaret Mansell has lived on the Wharfage for 30 years and was one of the last residents to be evacuated today.
She said: ‘He was very fast to go to Yorkshire when he was after t he election vote up north when there were floods. Now, there’s been no sign of him.
‘There’s been no sighting of him at all through any of the floods but he was very, very visible when he was after votes in Yorkshire and the north.
‘There’s very little he can do but now he’s got his massive majority he doesn’t care.
‘I was here in 2000 when it last flooded. In 2000 it was bad and that was when the community got together.’
The premier has come under fire for failing to visit the scene of flooding across England – instead choosing to stay at the opulent Chevening estate in Kent (pictured) during the parliamentary recess
Ex-veteran Ian Donnelly, 54, said: ‘Boris should pay a visit to the residents or affected communities to show support to those communities, whether that’s at Ironbridge or Shrewsbury or Worcester, it would be good to see that.’
Allies insist Mr Johnson’s presence would only have disrupted efforts by emergency workers to ease the impact of the extreme weather.
They have also defended his approach of delegating the response on floods and Coronavirus to Cabinet ministers, saying it is a more effective way of governing than trying to micromanage from No10.