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Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:59 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 3:59 pm, 30th October 2019

I pay tribute to the families and people from the Grenfell community who are here to listen to this important debate. Upon reading the report, all of us should have the human reactions of anger, grief and shock at what happened on the fateful day of 14 June 2017. Those who lost their lives could have been our friends, our brothers, our cousins, our parents or our grandparents. They had their futures ahead of them. Birthdays, engagements, exams, graduations—they had a lot to live for. However, we know now that that tragic loss of life could to some extent have been prevented. Regardless of the politics, the families and the community deserve truth and justice, and this first report, in its clarity and bleakness, goes a step in that direction. It does not answer all the families’ questions, but I hope that the next report and the police inquiry will ultimately offer the necessary closure.

I commend the fire officers on the night for dealing with an unimaginable tragedy. Much has been said about the report today, but not much has been said in this House about compassion. One thing that came out of this event was the compassion of the people of London. Indeed, I think the Evening Standard managed to raise £7.4 million to support the families and the community. However, we know that all that is no substitute for the local authority doing its work to ensure that people are permanently housed properly as dignity requires. There is a lot that needs to be done, and there are many actions that the Government need to take, but this should not be about cost. Public safety—not just in Grenfell, but around the country—should be the most important issue in our considerations.