Grenfell Tower and Fire Safety: Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 20th July 2017.

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Photo of Lord Hope of Craighead Lord Hope of Craighead Convenor of the Crossbench Peers 2:30 pm, 20th July 2017

My Lords, I welcome the point to which the noble Lord has just referred—the decision to extend the period for agreeing the terms of reference. Anything that can be done to defuse the high state of tension that exists at present is wise. One would like this inquiry to proceed in a relatively calm atmosphere so that the evidence can be listened to without interruption and with proper attention to detail. However, perhaps the noble Lord can inform the House on one or two other matters relating to the preparation of the inquiry.

First, have steps been taken to identify somebody who might be invited to act as counsel to the inquiry? I suspect that that will be an extremely important element in the preparation of the evidence before the inquiry begins. Secondly, has thought been given to where the inquiry might be held, bearing in mind that large numbers of people will want to attend it and the premises will have to be large enough to accommodate them, as well as to provide a secure position for those who wish to attend, for those giving evidence and, indeed, for the judge himself? Thirdly, can we have any insight into the timing, bearing in mind that the point has been made from the very beginning about the need for an interim report to be made available as soon as possible so that the details of the evidence that might lead to steps to prevent a repetition can be brought into the open as soon as possible, and also bearing in mind that the inquiry cannot begin until the evidence has been sufficiently well prepared for the judge to hear it and assess it in the first place?