Grenfell Tower - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:35 pm on 22nd June 2017.

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Photo of Lord Soley Lord Soley Labour 2:35 pm, 22nd June 2017

My Lords, I knew this block of flats well as it was part of a complex—about six or eight of them—which was included in the Hammersmith area which I represented for many years. I often went into Grenfell Tower when campaigning for elections. It is important to say that those flats were very spacious inside and were not at all unpopular with residents if—this was the crucial bit—they were managed well. There are questions about management on which my noble friend and others have touched. That is a matter for the inquiry and I do not wish to second-guess it. However—this is very important—my understanding from many people who have made comments, such as residents and organisations or individuals representing residents in that block, is that they warned of a fire risk. If residents or residents’ associations or representatives express concern about fire safety, that should be dealt with as a matter of urgency and immediately, whatever the other concerns. It is far too serious to be put to one side to be looked at later. Sadly, in this context, I note that the chief executive has resigned. I guess that is probably the right thing to do. Having heard the leader of the council’s comments on television soon after the event, I felt that he was out of his depth and did not understand the extreme nature of the horror that had overtaken that block of flats. In those circumstances, I also think that he should consider his position.