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15 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn’s Grenfell Tower fire statement: “I feel very angry that so many have lives have been lost“

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, described the fire as "corporate manslaughter".

By Julia Rampen

After visiting residents who escaped the Grenfell Tower fire on Thursday afternoon, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has expressed his anger about a system that “didn’t work”.

He called Kensington – the UK’s richest constituency – a “tale of two cities” and pledged to speak up for the residents in parliament

“There are thousands of tower blocks around our country,” he said. “Every single person living in one today will be frightened. They need answers to provide them with security and peace of mind.”

Theresa May also visited the site, and announced a full public inquiry into the fire, which has so far claimed 12 lives and is feared to have taken many more. 

However, residents were reported to be angry that the Prime Minister did not, as Corbyn did, speak to survivors as well as the emergency services. 

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Other Labour MPs have been swift to condemn the conditions in which the fire spread. David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, described the fire as “corporate manslaughter”. The new Labour MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad, laid into the local council for having no presence in the aftermath of the disaster.

Here is Jeremy Corbyn’s statement in full:

“I feel very angry that it was possible for the fire to spread in the way it did. I feel very angry that so many have lives have been lost when the system didn’t work.

“The many residents I met today are very angry too; their concerns about the building were not responded to and their questions were not answered.

“They asked me to speak for them when I get back to Parliament and I will make sure I do, alongside their new MP Emma Dent Coad.

“There are thousands of tower blocks around our country. Every single person living in one today will be frightened. They need answers to provide them with security and peace of mind. 

“Kensington is a tale of two cities – it is among the wealthiest parts of this country but the ward where this took place is one of the poorest.

“The judge-led public inquiry must be speedy and all residents should have access to legal aid and the support they need. 

“Residents must also be re-housed, using requisition of empty properties if necessary, in the community they love.

“I would like to give thanks to the firefighters who risked their lives to save the lives of others, and the police and the paramedics who did the same.

“Some hard questions need to be answered. It cannot be right that in the 21st century a fire like this happens.

“It’s the responsibility of Government to tell us why the lessons of Camberwell, Southampton and Shepherds Bush have not been learned.

“There must be a proper ministerial statement in the Commons when the Commons is once again sitting and the Government must also immediately make sure the families affected have the resources they need.”

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