Ed Miliband took aim at Kwasi Kwarteng in the House of Commons yesterday as power cuts continue to plague houses in the north.
Labour’s Kevan Jones brought an urgent question in parliament as residents in the north-east of England spoke of losing hope and feeling “fed up and angry” as they face an 11th night without power.
Quoting a Conservative councillor from northern England, the shadow climate change minister, Miliband, said: “‘If this happened in London or in the south-east everything would have got thrown at it’. They are his words. Aren’t people in the north entitled to think he is right? They have been treated as second-class citizens.”
Mr Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, added that the business secretary was “available for a photo opportunity” at the weekend as he visited areas affected by the storm, but had allowed Greg Hands, one of his ministers, to face questions about the power cuts in the Commons.
He said: “It’s totally contemptuous for the business secretary to be available for a photo opportunity, yesterday, but not available, today, to come to this House and account for the government’s performance.”
According to the prime minister, homes still without power following Storm Arwen will be reconnected “by tomorrow at the latest”.
Boris Johnson said he spoke to the chief executive of Northern Powergrid on Monday, and that he had been told of the new target.
But a deadline set on Wednesday last week had already been missed as MPs heard there was something “seriously wrong” at the supplier.
On Wednesday, Downing Street said properties affected by the power cuts caused by Storm Arwen should have supply restored “by the end of the week”, but more than 1,000 remained cut off on Monday.