Sir Keir Starmer says Labour would ‘get ahead’ of torrential weather - as five killed by Storm Isha

22 January 2024, 16:10 | Updated: 22 January 2024, 16:19

A Labour Government will "get ahead" of torrential storms, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as he accused the Conservatives of implementing a "sticking plaster" approach over Storm Isha
A Labour Government will "get ahead" of torrential storms, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as he accused the Conservatives of implementing a "sticking plaster" approach over Storm Isha. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

A Labour Government would "get ahead" of torrential storms, Sir Keir Starmer has said, as he accused the Conservatives of implementing a "sticking plaster" approach over Storm Isha.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Labour leader said he was concerned for those whose homes have been severely damaged or flooded, and do not have sufficient insurance to cover the costs of repair.

In a speech at the Civil Society Summit on Monday morning, Starmer said the overnight storms and floods are an "example of sticking plaster politics in many ways”.

“We’ve got to stop going out after the storm to try to help people rebuild their lives, we’ve got to get ahead of the storm and put the resilience in place first," he added.

“So working with you not just on the response to storms or flooding or whatever it may be but on the resilience to stop that in the first place or mitigate that is hugely important.

"So there’s a strong preventative theme through everything that we want to do.”

A car stranded in flood water in Warwick bridge in Cumbria as Storm Isha brought disruption to the electricity and transport networks across the UK
A car stranded in flood water in Warwick bridge in Cumbria as Storm Isha brought disruption to the electricity and transport networks across the UK. Picture: Alamy
Sir Keir Starmer speaking during the Labour and Civil Society Summit at St John's church in Waterloo, January 22, 2024
Sir Keir Starmer speaking during the Labour and Civil Society Summit at St John's church in Waterloo, January 22, 2024. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Keir Starmer defends National Trust against government 'woke' attacks as he vows to create 'society of service'

Read More: Starmer slams ‘shocking’ rise in Victorian era diseases as tens of thousands suffer since Sunak became PM

It comes after Storm Isha claimed at least five lives as it battered parts of the country overnight, bringing with it winds of up to 99mph. Around 70,000 people remained without power and transport services remained disrupted throughout the country.

In Bradford, a man died in a fall down a manhole when safety barriers were destroyed in high winds. The victim suffered a fatal head injury after falling into the exposed hole.

Emergency services were called to Highgate Road, Bradford, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "At 7.19 this morning officers were called by the ambulance service to reports of a concern for safety at Highgate Road, Queensbury.

"A man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner in due course."

A man in his 60s died last night in Northern Ireland when his van hit a tree, an 84-year-old man died after the car he was a front seat passenger in crashed into a fallen tree in Grangemouth, Falkirk, and two others died in other crashes in Ireland.

A woman in her 20s died after a van she was a passenger in crashed into a tree and a man in his 40s died in a car crash in Co Mayo.

The Met Office today issued fresh 'danger to life' warnings after Storm Isha battered the UK and Ireland with winds up to 99mph.

Read More: Storm Isha claims first victim after man, 84, killed as car crashes into fallen tree

Read More: Storm Isha chaos hits commuters after UK battered by 100mph gusts and rare red weather warning issued

Ireland's Meteorological Service has now named a new oncoming tempest as Storm Jocelyn, which is expected to cause strong winds from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The UK Met Office issued an amber warning for wind covering western and northern Scotland from 6pm on Tuesday until 8am on Wednesday.

Less serious yellow warnings are also issued for wind across much of the UK, north of Oxford, and Peterborough, and for rain in an area of western Scotland stretching from the border with England to near Inverness.

Transport was also thrown into chaos as fallen trees affected railways and roads. Traffic Scotland reported stretches of the M9 and M74 among the roads closed, while the A1 southbound was blocked at Thorntonloch because of an overturned lorry.

High winds forced the closure of the Tay Road Bridge, M48 Severn Bridge and the A66 in Durham and Cumbria between the A1(M) and the M6, while the Humber Bridge, A19 Tees Flyover and A628 Woodhead Pass in Derbyshire were among stretches closed to high-sided vehicles.

White water at the Falls of Dochart in Killin, Stirling, after Storm Isha blew through the area overnight
White water at the Falls of Dochart in Killin, Stirling, after Storm Isha blew through the area overnight. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Thousands without power and planes unable to land as Storm Isha puts UK on 'tornado watch' with 90mph winds

Read More: Storm Isha set to batter Britain: Met Office extends rare amber warning for 90mph winds as people warned not to travel

Fallen trees and flooding caused ScotRail to suspend all services from 7pm on Sunday until around 11am when some lines reopened.

A Network Rail spokesman said "hundreds of engineers" were deployed with chainsaws and cherry pickers to remove debris from tracks.

"It's been a wild night, but passengers and railway staff have been kept safe and we will work tirelessly to get the railway back on its feet as quickly as we can," he said.

Most routes in England and Wales were open on Monday but with some residual delays.

Air traffic control restrictions on Sunday night led to flight cancellations and caused many planes to divert. Ryanair flights to Dublin from Manchester and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands diverted to the French cities of Paris and Bordeaux respectively.

The Met Office said the highest recorded wind speed during Storm Isha was 99mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland, with gusts of 90mph at Capel Curig in Snowdonia on Sunday.

A rare red warning for wind in north-east Scotland was in place until 5am on Monday, with amber warnings covering much of the UK until 6am and further yellow warnings covering the entire country until noon.

A further yellow warning for wind for Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and northern England is active from 4pm on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday.

The Met Office said "everybody" was affected by the storm. Heavy downpours battered some places, with 28 flood warnings in place in England and 50 in Scotland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the weather put "significant pressure" on the 999 system and urged people to report non-emergencies online or by calling 101.

Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said many roads across Northern Ireland were impassable on Monday morning.

The Met Office said Storm Isha - the ninth named storm to hit the UK since the season began in September - is moving away from the UK on Monday but conditions remained windy with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers.

Showers were expected to be heaviest and most frequent in the north and west.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Christopher Nolan

Oppenheimer keeps devouring awards with top prize at Producers Guild

Rishi Sunak is facing a revolt for sacking Lee Anderson

PM denies Tories have 'Islamophobic tendencies' as minister says Lee Anderson's comments were 'profoundly wrong'

Bus operators said they were not consulted about the plans and laid the blame on the delays firmly on the LTN

Three mile bus journeys take two hours in low-traffic neighbourhoods with TfL blaming 'serious' delays on scheme

The 1964 film has had its age rating changed after sixty years

Mary Poppins age rating changed from ‘U’ to ‘PG’ over ‘discriminatory language’ sixty years after release

The award for best feature was given to Past Lives

Past Lives and American Fiction among big winners at Independent Spirit Awards

O'Leary warns some airlines may struggle to cope with demand

Holidaymakers face air fare hike this summer due to ‘lack of planes’, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary warns

Hundreds of protesters shut down the protest on Saturday

Watch as hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists shut down Tower Bridge with intense Gaza protest

Burglars have been targeting the homes of Premier League footballers

Arsenal goalkeeper 'training XL Bully dog as his bodyguard' after wave of break-ins hit Premier League footballers

Election 2024 Haley

Haley insists it is ‘not the end of our story’ despite South Carolina defeat

Rishi Sunak is facing a revolt for sacking Lee Anderson after Red Wall MPs briefed that they have seen waves of support for the sacked Tory following his dismissal in an Islamophobia row.

Rishi's revolt over Anderson suspension as Red Wall MPs reveal support for the sacked deputy chairman

Brazil Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro draws supporters to rally amid coup denials

Close up of a hand and pen at a Women's Centre therapy support group.

Generation sicknote: Young people more likely to be off work sick than people in their early 40s

Former Tory minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has said that she thinks some in the party have set out "toxify and destroy the party" in the wake of the Lee Anderson Islamophobia row.

'They're just jokers': Former Tory chair in brutal assessment of party after Lee Anderson Islamophobia row

Lebanon Israel Palestinians

Israel vows to continue attacks on Hezbollah even if ceasefire agreed with Hamas

Rudyard Lake reservoir in the Staffordshire Moorlands near Leek seen with sailing boats moored in the Autumn  Autumnal colours in the woodland trees

Body of boy, 17, pulled from Staffordshire reservoir after search launched on Saturday night

Belarus Election

Belarusians vote in tightly controlled election amid calls for boycott