Leeds & West Yorkshire

David Cameron confronted by Todmorden flood woman

Prime Minister David Cameron was confronted by a woman as he visited one of the towns affected by the recent severe floods in West Yorkshire.

Mr Cameron was leaving the town hall in Todmorden when Kathleen Simpson surprised him.

Ms Simpson asked the prime minister a number of animated questions about local issues, including the floods, as he stood on the pavement.

Mr Cameron had met council officials and emergency service staff.

'Incredibly strong community'

Earlier, he visited the flood-damaged home of Sarah-Jayne Robins in Todmorden.

Miss Robins was trapped for 12 hours upstairs in her home when water poured out of the nearby canal.

Miss Robins showed Mr Cameron around the sodden ground floor of her back-to-back home, which is on a road between the River Calder and the Rochdale Canal.

She said flood water poured in on Friday evening and she had no choice but to shelter upstairs with her 18-month-old miniature poodle, Pepper.

Miss Robins, 31, said she had to stay there until almost lunchtime on Saturday.

She said: "My family said they'd try and rescue me but they just couldn't get near.

Miss Robins, who has lived in the rented property for 18 months, told the Prime Minister she is struggling to find the £100 insurance excess she needs.

Before he left Todmorden Town Hall, Mr Cameron said: "First of all, one's sympathy just goes out to people who had their homes flooded and have seen so many treasured possessions destroyed.

"But what you see is an incredibly strong community come together with real purpose - very positive - to help each other out.

"It really needs to be said to thank everyone who took part in it.

"The government stands by to help in any way we can.

"The council's doing a good job. We will fill in any gaps if that's required."

'Another deal'

The prime minister added: "This is a beautiful area of our country and it's absolutely open for business."

Asked about insurance issues faced by residents, Mr Cameron said there were short-term hardship funds available.

"Longer term, we need another deal with the insurance companies so they do what it says on the tin - insurance, they provide people with cover against flooding.

Mr Cameron talked about investment in flood relief but said: "That will never protect everybody.

"There was a month's rain that fell in 24 hours.

"You can't protect against some of that but we'll do everything we can."

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