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Grenfell Tower Inquiry could resume over video conferencing

The second phase of hearings into the disaster were halted in March as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

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Protesters outside the Grenfell Tower public inquiry in London.

Protesters outside the Grenfell Tower public inquiry in London.

Protesters outside the Grenfell Tower public inquiry in London.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry could resume over video conferencing, organisers have said.

The second phase of hearings into the disaster were halted last month because of coronavirus restrictions.

The inquiry has now written to key witnesses and victims of the 2017 blaze with three options for how evidence may continue being heard.

As well as the possibility of carrying on remotely via video, the inquiry is also considering suspending hearings entirely until social distancing rules are lifted, or resuming with limited attendance when rules are partially relaxed.

In a statement on Tuesday, lawyers said they need to conduct a “balancing exercise” between “further(ing) the inquiry’s work by taking oral evidence” and the health of witnesses and other participants.

According to Government shielding advice, the inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick and lawyer for victims and the bereaved Michael Mansfield QC should be staying at home, as they are both over 70 years old.

Speaking in March before strict lockdown measures were enforced, Sir Martin said: “It won’t come as a surprise to any of you that at least two people in this room might not be able to be here if the Government decides that over-70s should be banned from going out.

“Mr Mansfield and I certainly fall into that category.”

PA