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 Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 2:30 pm, 20th July 2017

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord very much for that contribution and for the very helpful points about defusing the high state of tension that exists and has existed from early on—for very understandable reasons. I think efforts are being made, with some success, to defuse the tension. The judge leading the inquiry is consulting local residents and residents’ representatives about the terms of reference, and it is right to do so. I am sure that the judge will have views about the timing of the inquiry and where it is to be held, and those will be taken into account. If it is acceptable to the noble and learned Lord, I will write to him on the more detailed and relevant points concerning the conduct of the inquiry.

He is right about an interim report, which I think we would be hoping to see, although, again, ultimately that is for the judge leading the inquiry to determine. Because of the need for urgent action, we set up the independent expert advisory panel under Sir Ken Knight. He has already given a lead, as has the rest of the committee, in relation to, for example, the testing and other important matters. However, the Secretary of State is very well aware of the need for early action on the building regulations and fire safety measures, probably in parallel with the inquiry.