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John McDonnell stands by ‘murder’ claim over Grenfell Tower tragedy

The Hayes and Harlington MP insists his words were not “intemperate”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has defended his claim that victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were murdered by political decisions.

Mr McDonnell, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s right hand man, said he was angry about the disaster in Kensington and was reflecting the ire of survivors and victims’ families.

The Hayes and Harlington MP told Channel 4 News: “I’m angry about what’s gone on, I’m a west London MP, this is our community.

“People have died on a scale we’ve not seen since the Second World War blitz, that’s why I’m angry, very angry.

“And I don’t believe my words were intemperate, I think they reflected the anger that is out there, how austerity has impacted upon our fire service, our local government in terms of inspections etcetera and some decisions made.

“We’ve got to wake up and learn the lessons.”

Mr McDonnell made his original comments during a debate at Glastonbury Festival’s Left Field tent, which asked whether democracy is broken.

He told the event: “Is democracy working? It didn’t work if you were a family living on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower.

“Those families, those individuals, 79 so far and there will be more, were murdered by political decisions that were taken over recent decades.

“The decision not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than for meeting a basic human need made by politicians over decades murdered those families.

“The decision to close fire stations and to cut 10,000 firefighters and then to freeze their pay for over a decade contributed to those deaths inevitably and they were political decisions.”

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