This is what Grenfell Tower survivors had to say in the latest inquiry meeting
“We need someone who’s real.”
Last night saw a heated public consultation meeting in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, as survivors and residents expressed anger at how the situation has been handled so far.
At least 80 people died after the fire tore through the 24-storey tower block in north Kensington, with many of those affected being from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the retired judge leading the inquiry, invited those affected by the deadly blaze to give their say on what they want the investigation to cover. These are some of the powerful points made during the meeting.
“I don’t think you are going to do us justice. I’m just watching you here. We need someone who’s real.”
One of the first members of public to speak addressed the involvement of Moore-Bick.
After this comment applause broke out from the hundreds gathered in the room inside Notting Hill Community Church, not far from the ruins of the tower.
“You do not have our confidence, you do not represent us and you do not look like any of us.”
One woman was angry at the lack of diversity of the panel leading the inquiry.
Moore-Bick was joined at the meeting by his inquiry team which included QCs Richard Millett, Bernard Richmond and Kate Grange, inquiry secretary Mark Fisher and a female junior barrister.
“It plays badly to a community – who have no hope of the position that you are in – to say to them, ‘I do not have the power’, because from where I’m sitting you are a very, very powerful man – you have the power to go back to the Government to say this is not good enough.”
Eve Wedderburn, a community member who set up a petition calling for the entire leadership of Kensington and Chelsea Council to stand down, told Moore-Bick he had power to influence the Government.
This was a response to his comment that he had “no power to do anything in relation to criminal responsibility”.
“The reason there’s been a delay … is because the Prime Minister decided it would be appropriate to consult with the people and that takes time, and partly because the local people want time to consider their position and their thoughts.
“And that’s why we’ve extended the consultation period to August 4 specifically at the request of local people. But of course it does postpone the date we can actually start the work.”
This was Moore-Bick’s response to anger over delays in conducting the inquiry.
In the meeting, Moore-Bick promised that the role of building regulations, the specification of the cladding and insulation, the tower’s gas pipes and the role of supervision of works carried out would be considered in the inquiry.
He said he would also be considering whether the scope of the inquiry should look at the fire’s aftermath, but warned that making it too wide would mean the probe taking longer.