Jeremy Corbyn visited the Foss Barrier on Thursday (December 31) and declared: “There now has to be an examination of the resilience of the whole flood defence system affecting York.”

The Labour Party leader toured the flood defence barrier, which was opened due to electrical failures on Boxing Night prompting the worst floods in York for a generation.

He told journalists:

Clearly the defences, whilst they have protected a lot of people, have not protected everybody and that the system here was overwhelmed by the level of water and the electricity supply failed as a result.

There now has to be an examination of the resilience of the whole flood defence system affecting York, and of course other cities all across the country.

‘Here to learn’

York Central MP Rachael Maskell with the Labour leader

Mr Corbyn was asked why he had taken so long to visit York – the Prime Minister David Cameron was in the city on Monday.

“I don’t want to get in the way of people doing an emergency job at a highly critical time,” Mr Corbyn said.

“I think to turn up in the midst of all that is distracting engineers from what they were doing at that time, which was critical emergency work, would not have been helpful.”

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn

He thanked “all the engineers who worked so hard on this, and the army for coming in to help, and the fire brigade for helping as well, to get through an emergency situation and protect an awful lot of people”.

I decided to come today to support our local MP Rachael Maskell, who’s done a fantastic job on the ground to achieve this.

I’m here to learn from the Environment Agency, the local authority, the police and the army and everybody else, so that we can deal with these issues for the future.

Mr Corbyn said the country had to take an approach which encompassed building flood defences and controlling river flows as well as managing river basins and the uplands that fed into them.