Brent North MP Barry Gardiner defends £3k trip to Mexico during floods on Twitter

Barry Gardiner is Labour's floods spokesman

Barry Gardiner is Labour's floods spokesman - Credit: Archant

A Brent MP who is also Labour’s flood spokesman has taken to Twitter to defend himself after he was slammed for holidaying in the sun while parts of the UK are under water.

Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, featured on yesterday’s front page of the Mail on Sunday pictured in a pair of tropical swimming short in Cancun, Mexico, as he attended a conference funded by Sigma Pharmaceutical.

The shadow minister for environment, food, and rural affairs and his wife Caroline stayed at the luxury Moon Palace Resort during the £3,650 trip paid for by the pharmaceutical company.

Mr Gardiner, who attended the conference to give a lecture on waste, accused the paper of trivialising the seriousness of pharmacy waste saying it currently amounted to £300million in one years.

He tweeted: “£300m of pharmacy waste could buy 19,800 treatments for breast cancer or 11,775 more community nurses. MailonSunday belittle a serious issue.”

Two days before the paper’s expose he tweeted: “Just door stepped by Mail on Sunday in Mexico. Here trying to reduce £300million of pharmacy waste & they fly a journo out “to expose”!”

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgewater in Somerset, which has been heavily affected by the floods, has challenged Mr Gardiner to visit his constituency with his ‘mankini’ when he returns.

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He said: “It would be nice to see Barry down here and I welcome him to come down when he gets back perhaps he can slip his mankini into his bag and see us.

“If he would like sun, sea and surf I have got it all here in Somerset. If he would like to come down I can supply him with a deckchair and a knotted hanky.”

The Times contacted Mr Gardiner’s office for a comment.

We are awaiting a response.

However, a Labour spokesman said: “It is Ed Miliband and Maria Eagle who have led Labour’s response to the floods crisis. They have visited families and businesses affected across the South West and Thames Valley. They have ensured the Government’s slow response to this crisis was speeded up and shown how David Cameron’s government failed to prepare for flooding despite the evidence of climate change.

“Labour’s response has been effective and robust. To suggest anything else is ridiculous.”