Grenfell Tower death toll ‘may have been covered up to stop a riot’

The number of people killed in the Grenfell Tower inferno could have been covered up due to fears of riots, a Labour MP has suggested.

Tottenham MP David Lammy questioned the official figure of 79 people who are either known to have lost their lives or are missing, presumed dead.

The MP admitted he had “no idea” if the number was being covered up but he was “sympathetic” to the theory.

“What people say is that if you put the numbers out early, there could be civil unrest. That’s what they say,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.


Residents were trapped inside the building. (Jeremy Selwyn)

He added: “I am sympathetic to it, I am going to walk alongside those people.”

Asked if he thought the number of dead had not been released because of the potential for civil unrest, he said: “The truth is the media cycle is now beginning to move on to other things, that’s the truth.

“And so what people say is that in two, three weeks’ time, if you start to reveal the numbers, things have moved on.”

Mr Lammy said there was a “gap” between what people in the west London borough where the blaze happened said they had seen and what the official figures showed.

“In one flat alone, people say there were up to 40 people gathering, because they gathered in the flat, it was Ramadan,” he said.

On June 23, the Met Police said it was still trying to clarify the number of people missing and presumed dead in the fire and appealed for people who may have information to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said: “I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy.

“We have been able to focus our efforts all through last weekend and this week to get much greater clarity on those who sadly died and those are still missing who I must now presume are dead.

“That work has been focused on those people we have been told about – those people who were in Grenfell Tower that night or. who we have been told. have connections to Grenfell Tower.

“I remain really concerned though that we do not have a complete picture.

The Metropolitan Police make statement on the cause of the Grenfell Tower fire

“There may well be people who no one has contacted us about – who they know were in the building or have close links to Grenfell Tower.

She said: “We are not interested in people’s reasons for not telling us sooner and as the Mayor has already said people should be not be nervous about contacting us.

“The Home Office has assured us that they are not interested in people’s immigration status and we are not interested in looking at that.

“What we are interested in is that making sure we know who is missing and we take every possible step to establish if they are safe and well.”

Mr Lammy called on the Prime Minister and Metropolitan Police to seize all relevant Grenfell Tower documents in the aftermath of the disaster.

He said: “When you have tragedies of this kind that could have been prevented, we know from Hillsborough and other affairs in our national life that governments, local authorities, big corporations, companies, the contractors – they cover their backs.

“That’s why I raised issues around the documentation.”

Anyone with information on people who may be missing in Grenfell should call the police incident room on 0800 032 4539

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