THE MP for the Meon Valley has stood by her advice to residents to avoid flushing toilets during heavy rainfall to prevent sewage spills, despite a backlash.

Flick Drummond, who’s hoping to be Winchester’s next Conservative MP, has been slated by clean water campaigner Feargal Sharkey and Surfers Against Sewage for her latest tips on reducing the amount of pollution entering rivers, making the front page of a national newspaper.

In a political leaflet, Ms Drummond suggested her Meon Valley constituents to be “more sensible” during “heavy downpours” by not flushing their toilets, taking baths and using their washing machines.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Flick Drummond on the front page of The Daily StarFlick Drummond on the front page of The Daily Star (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Sharkey, singer and vice chair of River Action, sarcastically posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “NEWSFLASH: Tory MP Flick Drummond has fixed the sewage scandal. Apparently it's all the fault of constituents who "need to be more sensible” by holding it in for longer, stop flushing the loo and not using washing machines especially when it's raining.  

Josh Harris, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “Frankly, it's a joke that this isn’t a joke. This is a ridiculous attempt to distract, and blame, the public for a sewage scandal perpetrated by profiteering water companies who abandoned their environmental responsibilities in favour of lining shareholder pockets. We need deep-rooted systemic change, not more sticking plasters.”

Ms Drummond said: “I am a politician who is not scared of telling the truth. Until we have a sewage system that can cope with new homes, increased wastewater, and climate change – something this government is forcing water companies to do – I would think advice to limit wastewater during heavy rain to stop the use of storm overflows makes sense.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Flick Drummond visiting a Southern water siteFlick Drummond visiting a Southern water site (Image: Flick Drummond)

“People, especially opposition politicians, can’t have it both ways. They express concern about pollution in our rivers and seas but when presented with advice to help the situation in the short term they don’t like it. We all produce wastewater and we should all take responsibility for it.

“I also think they wouldn’t like the many thousands of pounds put on their water bills to sort out our largely Victorian sewage system in a time span that Lib Dems and others like to go on about. The cost of doing this and stopping storm overflows overnight is at least £150bn and would bankrupt the water companies. Then it would be the taxpayer who would pick up the bill.

“Not using certain appliances or flushing the toilet during heavy rain is free of charge and the right thing to do. It’s not even an imposition.

“What is also not mentioned by the irresponsible Lib Dems is stopping storm overflows overnight would mean raw sewage backing up in homes, schools and hospitals. Imagine the outcry if that happened?

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“Everyone wants clean rivers and seas. This government is committed to doing so. It has insisted on 100 per cent monitoring of river health from this year, it has ensured water companies that pollute are fined heavily, it has forced water companies to invest billions in improving water treatment; it has passed the ground breaking Environment Act to protect our wildlife, air, soil and water for generations to come.

“What did the Lib Dems do while the Conservatives did all this? They voted against all of it.”

Danny Chambers, Winchester's Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, said: “People in Winchester and the Meon Valley are really worried about the long-term impact of raw sewage on our rivers, ecosystems and wildlife. If elected Winchester's MP, I will fight to reform the water industry so it is fit for purpose.

“Winchester deserves better than the raw deal they are getting with the current state of water management in this country.”