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Grenfell Tower campaigners strongly oppose ‘limited’ inquiry

The Justice4Grenfell group urged Sir Martin Moore-Bick to make his investigation wide-ranging.

Grenfell Tower fire campaigners have said they strongly oppose any form of “limited” inquiry into the deadly disaster.

The Justice4Grenfell group urged Sir Martin Moore-Bick to make his investigation wide-ranging, including an examination of local and national social housing policy and whether it “increased risks to residents”.

The call came ahead of Friday’s 5pm deadline for submissions on the scope of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, with around 300 expected.

Dozens of people died in the fire (Rick Findler/PA)

Justice4Grenfell included six suggestions for the terms of reference and said the inquiry’s fundamental purpose included restoring public confidence in the safety of “social housing nationally” and the “competence, ability and willingness of public authorities to oversee, regulate and ensure” it.

It urged the inquiry to investigate not just Kensington and Chelsea Council but also Government departments including the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government and 10 Downing Street.

It said: “The inquiry must uncover the correspondence and documents within these departments that go to the heart of the failed housing and social policies that caused or exacerbated the fire, along with the appalling response in the aftermath.

“The inquiry should seek and obtain internal communications between Government ministers, MPs, councillors and civil servants on matters relating to the Grenfell Tower disaster and the issues related to it. ”

Sir Martin promised to consider a broad range of evidence (Philip Toscano/PA)

Sir Martin promised to consider a broad range of evidence when he launched a public consultation into the terms of reference in July.

Local community members were initially given a week to give their feedback, but the deadline was extended twice.

In meetings with Sir Martin and his advisers, residents have spoken about wanting a team that represents the diversity of the community, with many of those affected from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds.

A protest at Kensington and Chelsea Council (Ben Stevens/PA)

Chairman of the nearby Bramley House residents association Samia Badani said: “What is crucial… having spoken to hundreds of people, they want the inquiry to deal with the relationship between the residents and the local authority and tenant management organisation.

“We’d be very disappointed if it was narrowed down on the causes of the fire. We want real change, and unless they understand that relationship between public bodies and residents is flawed, there is no hope of this changing.”

Justice4Grenfell said this was “of paramount importance”, adding: “The panel should be a diverse group, to ensure that the experiences of the wide range of people affected by the fire are included at the earliest opportunity.

“This is essential to ensure community trust, confidence, and the continued and full participation of survivors and the bereaved families in the inquiry process.”

It is understood that Sir Martin may recommend the Government considers broader questions about social housing separately when he sends his draft terms of reference to the Prime Minister next week.

It will then be up to Theresa May to decide what the scope of the inquiry should be, which she is expected to do the following week.

The deadline came on the same day as the inquests of three more victims of the blaze.

Kensington’s Labour MP Emma Dent Coad said she still did not have total confidence in Sir Martin, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve got to work with the system we have, unfortunately.”


From Belfast Telegraph