ANDOVER’S MP has said that a ‘constructive’ Cobra meeting at the weekend has meant the country is ‘in good shape’ to face the unprecedented temperatures of this week.

Ministers held a virtual emergency Cobra meeting on Saturday, July 16 after meteorologists warned the record high temperatures could put lives at risk. The meeting was chaired by Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, who was recently appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

He said: “Cobra is a committee which is designed to help coordinate across government. So while it has been reported as a national emergency, it was more a meeting to coordinate to make sure each department is doing what it needs to in the face of a difficulty. I would call it a difficulty, not an emergency.”

Mr Malthouse said that priorities for the committee were guidance for schools - to ensure they could remain open wherever possible - 999 capacity, and communication strategy.

He continued: “It was a good, constructive meeting and we are in good shape as a result.” 

READ MORE: LIVE: 'Hottest day on record' in Hampshire - school closures, heat health warnings and advice

He added that people should make sure they are staying hydrated, in shade wherever possible and “behaving sensibly and not overdoing it”. 

He also asked that everyone 'be good neighbours' and check up on people they know who may be vulnerable, such as older people living alone.

When asked whether he has concerns about the record-breaking temperatures in the face of the climate emergency, he said: “We learn from a period like this. In the long term, the scientists are telling us that we can expect more of these extreme weather events, and we’ve got to make sure we have prepared ourselves for those while at the same time renewing our commitment to tackling the climate emergency.” 

Britons are being urged to stay inside during the hottest points of the day and keep hydrated as the country faces soaring temperatures.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level 4 heat-health alert – described as an “emergency” – while the Met Office has issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning, with both running from Monday to Wednesday.

Some schools have said they will close amid the hot weather, while train companies urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday.

Additional contingency support for ambulance services, such as more call handlers and extra working hours, have been put in place to cope with the strain.

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