Grenfell Tower inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick urged to stand down amid claims he lacks survivors' support

Former judge faced heavy criticism after indicating probe would be limited to causes of deadly blaze

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Tuesday 04 July 2017 16:02
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Sir Martin Moore-Bick looks at floral tributes left for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington, London
Sir Martin Moore-Bick looks at floral tributes left for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington, London

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who will chair the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, is facing growing political pressure to stand down amid concern from survivors' groups over the scope of his investigation.

The former judge has faced heavy criticism after indicating the probe would be limited to the causes of the deadly fire, which killed at least 80 people last month.

The investigation will also consider why the blaze spread so quickly and how it could be prevented in future but survivors were said to be disappointed the scope was so narrow.

Groups reportedly put pressure on the 70-year-old to broaden the investigation to include building regulations at the time the tower was built in the early 1970s.

One source said Sir Martin was prepared to investigate why some alleged warnings about the building were not listened to.

"He is very happy to look at why there were warnings that weren't listened to, these were the allegations," the source said.

But shadow fire minister Chris Williamson and Labour MP for the borough Emma Dent Coad added their voices to calls for him to step down just days after being appointed to lead the highly sensitive inquiry.

Ms Dent Coad said he should be replaced as it was clear he could not understand what people had been through.

"I have been talking to hundreds of people who have been affected. They need somebody they can talk to, somebody with a bit of a human face," she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"I don't think he should do it. I don't think there will be any credibility. Some people are saying they are not going to co-operate with it so it's not going to work."

Sir Martin's appointment has been met met with concern by survivors, with a group called BME (black and minority ethnic) Lawyers 4 Grenfell writing to Prime Minister Theresa May to say her choice was "astonishing".

The open letter read: "Your lack of consultation has increased the mistrust of both the Grenfell community and the wider community and led to firm opposition of the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick."

Sue Caro, a co-ordinator for the Justice 4 Grenfell group that represents survivors, said: "Our view is the whole thing needs to start again - there is no confidence in the process."

It comes as the newly-appointed Kensington and Chelsea council leader said she was “truly sorry” over the council’s response to the tragedy.

Elizabeth Campbell, who was appointed following Nick Paget-Brown’s resignation on Friday, said: “The first thing I want to do is I want to apologise.

"This is our community and we have failed it when people needed us the most.

"So, no buts, no ifs, no excuses - I am truly sorry."

Additional reporting by PA.

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