A SENIOR Conservative claims it was ''remarkable'' that Britain's flood defences held to the extent they did, insisting the Government must review its repair budget.

Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, also asked Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to look favourably on maintenance measures that can protect farmland and properties.

Mr Paterson countered by suggesting 97 per cent of flood defences were judged to be in a good condition in November 2013, adding they would remain so with his department's existing budgets.

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The Cabinet member later claimed that ''if you want flood defences, you vote Conservative'' following exchanges with shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle.

Communities across Britain have been warned further flooding could occur, with figures showing more than 1,700 homes and businesses have been flooded in England since the beginning of the Christmas period and around 550 properties flooded since the new year.

Some 140 properties have been flooded in Wales while flood defences are said to have protected around one million properties.

During environment questions, Miss McIntosh told Mr Paterson: ''I think it is remarkable that the flood defences held to the extent that they did with the battering the country has seen.

''But will you give a commitment to the House that you will review the budget for repairs to existing flood defences and look favourably on schemes such as drainage boards maintaining the regular water courses that can protect farmland and other properties too?''

Mr Paterson replied: "We have made a very clear commitment to 2021 and what I would love to see is (shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle) stand up and say the Labour Party would back that commitment.''