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Wednesday 21st
posted by Morning Star in Britain

PEOPLE directly affected by the devastating Grenfell Tower fire should be integral to any inquiry, Sadiq Khan told the Prime Minister yesterday.

In a letter to Theresa May, Labour’s London mayor made strong recommendations on the scope of an inquiry.

He said that those affected by the fire in the high-rise block — for which the death toll stands at 79 — should be granted “core participant” status, allowing them access to evidence and to make representations in the hearing or suggest lines of inquiry.

Evidence should also be preserved by police using powers of seizure, he added.

He urged Ms May to appoint a senior judge to lead the process and said the Prime Minister should not meet the chairman “to avoid questions over the integrity and independence of the inquiry.”

He also said that legal fees should be covered to make sure that the concerns of the Grenfell community are not drowned out by the financial backing of other parties involved.

Mr Khan advised that the inquiry be split into two halves, the first of which would deal with the cause of the fire, how it spread, the recent refurbishment, the management of the block, whether safety warnings were ignored, the handling of the fire and co-ordination of support and to those affected.

A second stage would would examine the lessons to be learned from the tragedy including whether previous advice had been absorbed, whether a re-examination of building and fire-prevention regulation is needed and if the regime for checking fire safety is adequate, and an audit of “wider resilience arrangements”.