Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Spotlight on Policy
  2. Elections
5 November 2019updated 17 Jan 2024 7:01am

Jacob Rees-Mogg says Grenfell fire victims lacked “common sense” by obeying Fire Brigade

“I would leave the burning building, it just seems the common sense thing to do.”

By Election Mole

Over-promoted butler and Edwardian cosplay enthusiast Jacob Rees-Mogg has been on the radio criticising the 72 victims of the Grenfell fire at a time when he’s trying to win over voters.

Yes, you read that right.

Rees-Mogg, going over the Grenfell report findings in an interview on LBC, said it would have been “the common sense thing to do” to ignore the Fire Brigade’s “stay put” instructions and to leave the building.

In fact, he’s so convinced that he’d defy emergency service advice in a crisis that he posits to the host: “If either of us were in a fire, whatever the Fire Brigade said, we would leave the burning building.”

He then has the audacity to contradict his entire attitude to the disaster by saying, “I don’t think it’s anything to do with race or class” when he’s shown utter ignorance about general fire procedure in tower blocks because… spoiler alert… he’s never lived in one.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Here’s the full quote:

“The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave, you are so much safer. And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the Fire Brigade said, we would leave the burning building, it just seems the common sense thing to do and it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with race or class.”

And watch it here:

Ahmed Chellat, who lost five members of his family in the fire, has told the Mirror that Rees-Mogg “has got to apologise… People died on the stairs trying to leave, they couldn’t breathe. People needed help and directions, they tried to open doors and there was smoke everywhere. What is he talking about? How is he coming to this insensitive conclusion?”

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action