Grenfell Tower victims threaten to boycott inquiry unless investigation is widened


Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire could boycott the inquiry into the disaster if the proposed investigation is not widened, campaigners have said.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who will lead the probe, had previously said he was “doubtful” the investigation would be far-reaching enough to satisfy those who survived the fire.

The inquiry is currently set to look at the events of June 14 – such as how the fire started and how it developed so rapidly – but calls have been made for the investigation to be broadened.

One of the organisers of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group, Yvette Williams, said Grenfell survivors and victims’ families are “very, very angry” and want the “systemic issues” surrounding the fire to be looked at as part of the inquiry.

She told Sky News: “They cannot just look at 14 June, when that building became an inferno. They can’t do that.

“If we don’t get good terms of reference for the public inquiry and we don’t get a wide remit so that those people can take responsibility for what they’ve done, then we won’t participate in it.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to the Prime Minister asking for a two-part inquiry, the first looking at specific issues around the fire with an additional second part “looking at the national issues”.

Meanwhile, Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, who have been highly-criticised in its handling of the aftermath of the disaster, have said that neighbours of Grenfell will not have to pay rent until January after people were forced to leave their homes in the wake of the fire.

Three buildings, in Barandon Walk, Testerton Walk and Hurstway have been without hot water since the neighbourhood’s boiler, located beneath Grenfell Tower, was destroyed.

Last week council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned under increased pressure for his handling of the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told ITV News that he agreed with that decision and that he was ready to act if the local authority failed to provide properly for those caught up in the disaster.

Mr Javid said: “It is right the council leader stepped down given the initial response to the Grenfell tragedy.

“The process to select his successor will be independent of government, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. If we need to take further action, we won’t hesitate to do so.”

The authority came under fire for its slow response to the disaster, in which at least 80 people are thought to have died.

The Labour Party launched a drive for the council to relinquish its handling of affairs until the crisis was brought under control, with a string of party figures weighing in.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who also welcomed the resignation, said the government had “no option” but to appoint “untainted” commissioners who had “a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face” to take over running the authority.

He said: “The council now needs to find a way to move forward and find a way to restore the confidence in that community.

“That can only be done with new leadership and a new approach that reaches out to residents who quite rightly feel desperately neglected.



Source : http://www.itv.com/news/2017-07-02/grenfell-tower-victims-threaten-to-boycott-inquiry-unless-investigation-is-widened/

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