Grenfell fire: Inquiry will get full truth, says Lidington

Grenfell Tower Image copyright Reuters

The judge heading the Grenfell Tower inquiry is determined to get the "full truth", the justice secretary has said.

David Lidington, also Lord Chancellor, said he had confidence in Martin Moore-Bick, despite Grenfell survivors and some MPs calling for him to stand down.

Local MP for Kensington, Labour's Emma Dent Coad, said people were unlikely to co-operate without trust in Sir Martin.

If it has to be Sir Martin, an advisory panel representing different groups should work alongside him, she said.

The fire in the west London tower block on 14 June is thought to have killed at least 80 people, although police say the final toll will not be known until at least the end of the year.

Sir Martin - a retired Court of Appeal judge - would look at what happened on that day and the regulatory regime which may have contributed to the fire, said Mr Lidington.

He told BBC's Andrew Marr the scope of the inquiry would be set out by Sir Martin, the Cabinet Office and No 10.

"I'm very confident we will get some terms of reference that will get to the truth... not just in terms of what happened on that particular day, but what the regulatory decisions and the responsibilities that led up to that were," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption David Lidington says all political parties need to do "some soul-searching"

He stressed that the inquiry would not look to apportion criminal blame - that was for the police investigation and any subsequent prosecution - but evidence taken in his inquiry could be used by police and prosecutors considering criminal charges.

Tower blocks in authorities of "all political colours" had failed the combustibility test, he said, and now was the time for all political parties to do "some soul-searching".

Ms Dent Coad said that many Grenfell residents felt betrayed by authorities and angered by the appointment of Sir Martin.

Their worst fear was the fire being used as an excuse to socially cleanse North Kensington, she said, pointing to a case from 2014, in which Sir Martin ruled that Westminster City Council could rehouse a single mother-of-five more than 50 miles away, in Milton Keynes.

She told BBC's Sunday Politics she had never met Sir Martin, but said if residents did not trust the process, it was not going to work properly.

Who is Sir Martin?

Image copyright PA
  • Educated at Christ's College, Cambridge
  • Specialised in commercial law, involving maritime and land transport disputes
  • Spent more than 20 years as a judge of the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal
  • Retired in 2016
  • In November 2014, he ruled Westminster City Council could rehouse a single mother-of-five more than 50 miles away, in Milton Keynes.
  • The decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in April 2015.

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