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Grenfell Tower inquiry chairman heckled as he meets disaster survivors

Sir Martin Moore-Bick has already faced calls to resign.

The head of the inquiry into the fatal Grenfell Tower fire was heckled by residents and survivors of the disaster as he met them for the first time.

Retired appeal court judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick said he would look into the matter to the “very best” of his ability at a meeting in a centre overlooked by the burnt-out high-rise block in west London.

A short video shows Sir Martin being heckled, as well as him telling the meeting: “I can’t do more than assure you that I know what it is to be impartial. I’ve been a judge for 20 years, and I give you my word that I will look into this matter to the very best of my ability and find the facts as I see them from the evidence.

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Sir Martin Moore-Bick (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“That’s my job, that’s my training, and that’s what I intend to do. Now if I can’t satisfy you because you have some preconception about me as a person, that’s up to you.”

Sir Martin has already faced calls to resign amid criticism and frustration from survivors that the apparent remit of his inquiry may be too narrow.

After the meeting, local resident Melvyn Akins, 30, who was brought up in the area, said there was “frustration, anger and confusion” in the meeting and people were left with “a lot more questions” about their futures.

Concerns about the health of people living near the blaze, the air quality, evacuation procedures, the condition of the block and the inquiry’s terms of reference were among the wide-ranging questions posed in the meeting.

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Melvin Akins (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Sir Martin told the residents he is keen to have the terms of reference sorted before Parliament goes into recess, saying he could not start his work until the terms of reference are in, according to Mr Akins.

He said: “It is going to be an uphill struggle. People feel abandoned. Now you have got somebody coming in (Sir Martin) and saying ‘I am going to look into it all thoroughly’, and it is not good enough.

“People firmly believe that arrests should be made as a result of the outcome of all of this. If arrests are not made, people are going to feel justice may not be being done.”

As he entered the centre, Sir Martin told reporters: “I have been invited by the Lancaster West Residents Association.

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Sir Martin Moore-Bick told reporters before the meeting he was not going to comment about credibility (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“They are all waiting for me so I am not going to give you any comment about credibility.”

Sir Martin left at 9.47pm – almost three hours after he arrived at around 7pm – and described it as a “very useful meeting” before getting into a waiting car.

An official start date for the inquiry has yet to be set.

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