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Corbyn suggests using luxury Kensington properties for Grenfell Tower families

The Labour leader said properties should be “requisitioned if necessary”.

Luxury empty properties in Kensington should be taken over by the Government to prevent Grenfell Tower fire victims having to leave the area, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.

The Labour leader said it is unacceptable for poor people and the homeless to be left looking for somewhere to live while land banking takes place in the area, adding properties should be “requisitioned if necessary”.

Mr Corbyn also said hundreds of thousands of people living in tower blocks will be “frightened, traumatised and very, very worried” following the blaze in west London.

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Jeremy Corbyn (David Mirzoeff/PA)

He added he “feels very angry” that so many people have lost their lives in a tower block where the fire precautions did not work.

Mr Corbyn welcomed the Government’s decision to establish a public inquiry but insisted it must be speedy and allow residents to fully take part, with legal aid provided if needed.

Housing Minister Alok Sharma said the Government will work with the local authority to “guarantee” that every single family from Grenfell Tower will be rehoused locally.

Home Office Minister Nick Hurd described the Grenfell Tower fire as a “national tragedy” and said a full search was “unlikely to be feasible for some time”.

The remarks emerged as MPs gathered in Westminster Hall to question ministers about the blaze.

MPs would normally expect to hear a ministerial statement on a tragedy of this scale in the House of Commons but this is not possible because Parliament has not yet formally reopened following the snap election.

The informal ministerial statement was not initially televised before the cameras were switched on after more than 40 minutes.

Mr Corbyn said Kensington is a “tale of two cities”, adding: “The south part of Kensington is incredibly wealthy, it’s the wealthiest part of the country.

“The ward where this fire took place is, I think the poorest ward in the whole country.

“And properties must be found, requisitioned if necessary, in order to make sure those residents do get rehoused locally.

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(David Mirzoeff/PA)

“It cannot be acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live.

“I think we have to address these issues.”

Earlier, Mr Corbyn said: “There are thousands of tower blocks around our country, there are hundreds of thousands of people living in tower blocks all over this country.

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(David Mirzoeff/PA)

“Every single person living in a high-rise building today will be frightened, will be traumatised and will be very, very worried.

“So, setting up a public inquiry – good. Let’s make sure it’s speedy, it’s open and that the residents’ groups and residents concerned get the support they need to be represented at that inquiry.”

MPs heard 17 people are confirmed to have died and 34 casualties treated in London hospitals as a result of the fire.

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