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THERESA MAY today caved in to public and political pressure by agreeing to appoint a panel to oversee the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.
Two people will “support” chairman Judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick for phase two of his investigation, which starts hearing evidence this month.
The Prime Minister’s U-turn came after intense pressure from bereaved family members and a 156,000-strong petition.
Survivors’ groups said the inquiry risks being a whitewash without independent oversight.
Grenfell United spokesman Adel Chaoui, who lost four relatives in the inferno and co-led the petition, said survivors were “relieved,” but should not have had to campaign for it.
The petition has also guaranteed a parliamentary debate. It will take place on Monday, and Labour had warned that a vote would be forced on the issue if Ms May refuses to act.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “The decision to finally grant a panel in the Grenfell inquiry is testimony to the campaign waged by the bereaved families and the survivors — and to the overwhelming public support they attracted.
“But after everything they have been through, the bereaved families and the survivors should never have had to wage this campaign.
“The demand for a panel was always about ensuring the trust of the community in the inquiry and it should have been delivered from the start.
“For the Grenfell inquiry to deliver truth and justice, it must always have the full confidence of the bereaved families and survivors and it is essential that, going forward, all their other demands are properly met.”
According to official figures, the west London tower block fire in June last year killed at least 80 people.
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