The fire in Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 was an unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened. The Government set up the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to get to the truth about what happened, deliver justice for victims, survivors, bereaved families and the wider community, and to ensure that such a terrible tragedy could never happen again.
Section 7 (1)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 allows me to appoint panel members to the Inquiry panel at any time during the Inquiry. I have recently announced that Professor Nabeel Hamdi and Thouria Istephan will be appointed to the Inquiry panel for phase 2 of the Inquiry’s work.
Professor Nabeel Hamdi is a widely accomplished academic with an international reputation in housing and participatory design and planning. Thouria Istephan is an experienced and highly respected architect with a professional focus on health and safety. She is a partner at Foster + Partners and has a range of skills and experience directly relevant to the issues that the Inquiry will be investigating in phase 2 of its work.
Given the extent of the tragic circumstances surrounding the fire, we should not be surprised by the scale and breadth of issues to be investigated that have emerged from the Inquiry’s work. Phase 2 of the Inquiry will be the largest phase in terms of the number and range of issues to be considered and I am confident that these appointments will ensure that the Inquiry panel has the diversity of skills and expertise necessary for the scope and complexity of issues to be addressed by phase 2 of the Inquiry’s work.
I wrote to the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, before recess informing him of my decision and to seek his consent to the appointments in accordance with section 7(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005. Sir Martin replied on 29 May 2019 consenting to the appointment. Our exchange of letters can be found on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/names-of-grenfell-tower-inquiry-panel-members-announced-30-may-2019.