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Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:20 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 5:20 pm, 21st January 2020

I thank my hon. Friend, who is an expert in this field. In the previous Parliament, his expertise was much appreciated by all his fellow members on the HCLG Committee. He draws attention to a fundamental issue, which we must be cognisant of. Where there is lack of clarity or confusion, people not unreasonably ask, “What should we do? What standard do we put our buildings up at? What tests do we apply? What is reasonable?”—because everything is risk-based. We need to look at that in some detail.

In my opinion, the “stay put” policy that is implemented by both the London fire brigade and other brigades must be examined in detail. If, under compartmentalisation, a building is safe and a fire breaks out in one part of it, it is a sensible policy that the fire is eliminated in that part of the building and other people do not try to escape from the building unnecessarily. If a fire spreads from one compartment to another, that is when the building has to be evacuated straightaway. That is the examination that has to take place.