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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 14:05 GMT
Tornado response 'was too slow'
Tornado damage
Mr Prescott's office should have reacted faster, Tories claim
Conservatives have attacked Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott over his office's response to the tornado that swept through parts of Birmingham.

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman told the Commons a whirlwind was needed in Mr Prescott's department after a slow response to the disaster in 2005.

Mr Prescott said sometimes there were "difficulties in interpretation" in discussions about compensation.

The city council spent 5m after 100 families were displaced in July.

Ms Spelman, the MP for Meriden, said Birmingham City Council was told in November that his department would respond in due course to claims around compensation, but a statement was only made in the last week.

She said: "Surely a whirlwind is needed through your department if it takes so long to respond to a natural disaster that has left families roofless, homeless and devastated."

Mr Prescott said: "We will continue the negotiations... and we will give the proper attention to the policies that are necessary to solve them. But the discussions are ongoing."

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