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Grenfell Tower victims threaten inquiry boycott unless probe is widened

The Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group said survivors and victims’ families are “very, very angry”.

Victims of the Grenfell tower fire could boycott the inquiry into the disaster if the proposed scope is not widened, campaigners have said.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who will lead the probe, had previously said he was “doubtful” the investigation would be far-reaching enough to satisfy those who survived the blaze.

The current proposals are for the inquiry to look at the events of June 14 – such as how the fire started and how it developed so rapidly – but calls have been made for the investigation to be broadened.

It comes as:

:: The Government said it will keep a “close eye” on Kensington and Chelsea Council as pressure builds for the troubled authority to be taken over by commissioners.

:: One Grenfell Tower resident claims she had her rent deduced from her bank account after the disaster.

:: It has emerged an executive from the company that made the insulation fitted to Grenfell Tower is an adviser to the Government on building regulations.

Yvette Williams, one of the organisers of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group, said Grenfell survivors and victims’ families are “very, very angry” and want the “systemic issues” surrounding the fire to be looked at as part of the inquiry.

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Residents in Lancaster Road watch the tower smoke (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She told Sky News: “They cannot just look at 14 June, when that building became an inferno. They can’t do that.

“If we don’t get good terms of reference for the public inquiry and we don’t get a wide remit so that those people can take responsibility for what they’ve done, then we won’t participate in it.”

It follows Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn writing to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to widen the scope of the public inquiry.

He has asked for a two-part inquiry, the first looking at specific issues around the fire in at the 24-storey building in Kensington, west London, and reporting back soon, with an additional second part “looking at the national issues”.

Meanwhile, communities secretary Sajid Javid said it was “right” that council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned following intense criticism of how the Grenfell Tower tragedy was handled.

Mr Javid said: “The process to select his successor will be independent of government, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. If we need to take further action, we won’t hesitate to do so.”

Outgoing leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said he had to share responsibility for “perceived failings”, departing alongside deputy Rock Feilding-Mellen.

The council has now been hit by three high-profile resignations in the aftermath of the fire, with chief executive Nicholas Holgate also exiting.

The authority came under fire for its slow response to the disaster, in which at least 80 people are thought to have died.

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(PA graphic)

The Labour Party launched a drive for the council to relinquish its handling of affairs until the crisis was brought under control, with a string of party figures weighing in.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who welcomed the resignation, said the Government had “no option” but to appoint “untainted” commissioners who had “a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face” to take over running the authority.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the move would amount to “specific, immediate, obvious and necessary action”, while shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne added the powers should be used to “get a grip on what has gone dreadfully wrong”.

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