Inquiry head Martin Moore-Bick finally comes face to face with survivors of inferno
ARRESTS must be made over the Grenfell Tower fire that killed and displaced hundreds of people, angry residents told the controversial newly appointed head of the inquiry at a heated meeting.
They fear that, unless strong action is taken, those who died in the fire at the west London block owned by the Tory-run Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will be left without justice.
Senior judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick met residents for the first time on Thursday evening and sought to reassure them that he would look into the matter to “the very best of his ability.”
He initially stated that investigations would focus only on the cause of the blaze. But there are strong suspicions that cladding fitting to the building during a recent refurbishment allowed the fire to spread quickly.
Mr Moore-Bick has faced calls to resign from the post, having clearly failed to gain the confidence of the community.
He had previously presided over a case that gave the green light to Westminster Council to rehouse a single mother of five with serious health problems in a property near Milton Keynes, far from her support network, before the the Supreme Court overturned the ruling.
The judge, who recently retired, told North Kensington locals: “If I can’t satisfy you because you have some preconception about me as a person, that’s up to you.”
A resident said there was a lot of “frustration, anger and confusion” on show at the meeting.
Melvyn Atkins said: “It is going to be an uphill struggle. People feel abandoned.
“People firmly believe that arrests should be made as a result of the outcome of all of this. If arrests are not made, people are going to feel justice may not be being done.”
Fellow resident Jacqui Hayes said: “They are relying on us giving up, being tired and becoming overwhelmed.”
No official start date for the inquiry into the June 14 fire has been set, but Mr Moore-Bick said he aimed to set its terms of reference before Parliament goes into recess.
Some 190 samples of cladding taken from buildings in 51 local authority areas have failed fire safety tests in a programme begun after the Grenfell fire.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said experts would examine how various types of cladding insulation with different varieties of aluminium composite material in the panels react when alight.