Grenfell residents in 'passionate, angry' exchanges with PM at Downing Street

Marco Green
June 19, 2017

The PM was heavily criticised on Thursday after failing to speak to residents at the scene of the fire that has so far claimed 17 lives.

A man in the crowd commented: "What did she bring, what useful things did she bring?"

Local people have contrasted the style of Ms May's private visit with those of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was seen with his arm around the shoulders of people affected by the disaster. Who is now at the Westway centre?

He said there was still "simmering anger" among residents as well as "hostility and concern" over whether it Downing Street might offer no more than "warm words".

When asked if a public inquiry was the right way to go, Sophie Khan explicitly stated that residents should have the right to participate, ask questions, and cross-examine witnesses, highlighting only an inquest would adequately serve the people of Grenfell Tower.

Ms Leadsom responded to an accusation from Conservative grandee Michael Portillo that the Prime Minister was "hiding her humanity".

At Downing Street on Saturday afternoon, the Prime Minister met 16 people, including victims, residents, community leaders and volunteers, following the devastating blaze at the west London tower block.

"There is basic stuff, there are not even sprinklers in there that cost £200,000 just to do that. I've got friends in that tower", pointing to Grenfell.

"I mean, it's too late to be honest, right now. Because of people saving money, people are dying".

Mr Green, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, also promised that the Government would pay for residents' legal representation at a public inquiry to ensure they "have a voice in setting the terms of reference".

"The Prime Minister is absolutely heartbroken".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell backed calls for requisitioning, saying he would have done "whatever necessary" to house families displaced by the fire.

"But the real issue is not about what we as individuals feel, Theresa May, me, anybody else, it's what those people are going through".

Sky News understands that around 70 people are missing, feared dead.

"What we need to do is to get a grip of this and make sure we are meeting their immediate needs as well as their ongoing needs and that is really the priority for Government".

She returned to the site today, this time meeting victims and residents, but was met with cries of "coward" and "shame on you" as she left under heavy police escort.

May's former leadership rival added: "I'm sure if it felt that would be helpful then she would do that".

"It's disgusting. She should maybe come down and help out", Dee Baxter told the Standard.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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