London fire: MPs to quiz minister on safety measures

15 Jun

Theresa May visits Grenfell TowerImage copyright
AFP/Getty

Image caption

Theresa May spoke to emergency workers when she visited the scene

A government minister is expected to address MPs about the Grenfell Tower fire in London later after special arrangements were made.

Shadow housing minister John Healey said a public statement was expected, despite Parliament still being suspended ahead of the Queen’s Speech.

Labour says a planned inquiry into the fire should be completed by the summer.

It is also calling for measures recommended after another fatal fire in 2009 to be implemented immediately.

“The residents and others have some really serious questions to put to ministers and the people who run the building,” Mr Healey said.

The Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent review into fire safety and building regulations.

Rescuers do not expect to find anyone else alive in the Grenfell Tower, north Kensington. Police said 17 people have been confirmed dead but that the number was expected to rise.

Questions have been raised about why the fire spread so quickly and whether the advice given to residents was correct.

Attention has also focused on recommendations made in 2013 after a fire in a tower block in Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009 in which six people died.

These included installing sprinkler systems in high-risk buildings and reviewing building regulations.

In October the former Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, said the government had “publicly committed” to reviewing building regulations in relation to fire safety after the Lakanal House fire.

Mr Healey said this review had “not been started”.

Responding to reports, the Department for Communities and Local Government said it was “simply not true” that a report about building regulations had been “sat on”.

Ministers have promised a full investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Theresa May visited the scene of the fire on Thursday morning. She was briefed by the emergency services and met front-line staff.

Parliament cannot officially meet until the Queen’s Speech has been delivered on 21 June.

But on Wednesday Speaker John Bercow said arrangements were being made for a meeting with the relevant minister “within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster”.

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