NORTHERN Powergrid has denied claims by Conservative MP Richard Holden made in the House of Commons that it refused military aid to help those still without power after Storm Arwen.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday the MP for North West Durham said that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy offered military aid but it was refused by Northern Powergrid.

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He said: “My understanding is that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy offered military aid to the civil authorities — MACA — this weekend, but that Northern Powergrid refused it.”

However, a spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid stressed that “no offer of military assistance was made and, therefore, no refusal was given.”

The spokeswoman added: “Early on Saturday morning, we participated in an industry mutual aid call.

“Through this voluntary arrangement, we have utilised specialist engineering resources and equipment from UK Power Networks, Northern Ireland Electricity and National Grid Transmission, with their teams helping us restore power to customers after the impact of Storm Arwen.

“We have a well established and practised protocol of participating in Local Resilience Forums during major incidents and this is the process where such a request would usually be made or assistance offered.

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“We have made due checks and can confirm that no offer was made or refused.”

The denial comes as 45,000 people remain without power after Storm Arwen wreaked havoc across much of the UK, bringing strong winds, sleet and snow.

This morning Mp for Chelsea and Fulham announced on twitter that he is travelling up to Durham and is putting calls in at local business to thank them for their support to those affected by Storm Arwen.

He also revealed that he will be working with local MP Richard Holden and operator Northern Powergrid.

Labour MP for The City of Durham Mary Foy hit out at Mr Hands for "politicising" the crisis, expressing how "shameful" it was.

She said: "Hi Greg, if you stop in at Durham Station that's my constituency so please feel free to work with me to help my constituents too.

"Really shameful to see you politicising this crisis while people in Bearpark, Waterhouses, etc are without power."


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