Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry

Part of Humanitarian Situation in Mosul – in the House of Commons at 3:54 pm on 12th July 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Conservative, Walsall North 3:54 pm, 12th July 2017

My hon. Friend is right. Any opportunity for interpretation means that people have the chance to err either on the side of caution or, as some might suggest, on the side of cutting costs. The inclusion of that explicit detail would prevent such an opportunity for interpretation.

We will never be able to mitigate all risk, so it is incredibly important that we work with the fire service to minimise risk. I am grateful to Lee Sketchley from West Midlands fire service who came to see us at the YMCA. He inspected the hostel and we are acting on some of the recommendations for improvement that he made. That is relevant because of the stay-put policy, which has been mentioned. Its concept is built on the idea of compartmentalisation: if the whole fabric of the flat allows two hours’ exposure to fire before it penetrates, people can reasonably stay in that flat for a period, safe in the knowledge that somebody should be able to come and rescue them during that time. However, we will have all seen—we will have seen it in this building during the warm weather—fire doors propped open, sometimes with fire extinguishers, ironically, but that renders the door useless in the event of a fire. Similarly, we will have seen fire doors that have been painted: the intumescent smoke-seal strip on the edge of the door will be affected by the paint, which will prevent it from serving its purpose if there is a fire.

I say to Members on both sides of the Chamber that we all have a responsibility. It is up to us to go back to the big housing providers in our constituencies and seek reassurances from them, individually, that they are sticking to the legislation that is already in place. Before we go looking for too much new legislation, let us at least make absolutely sure about that.