Mayor Urges Inquiry to Focus on Role of Race and Discrimination in Grenfell Tower Tragedy
31st July 2020

Mayor Urges Inquiry to Focus on Role of Race and Discrimination in Grenfell Tower Tragedy

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for the Grenfell Inquiry Tower Inquiry to put a greater focus on whether race and discrimination were factors in the tragedy.

The Mayor believes it was a missed opportunity by the Inquiry not to have included an examination of whether race and discrimination more generally were factors in the fire on 14 June 2017, and he continues to raise his concerns that a diverse and representative panel is still not in place. He supports the call made by a group of bereaved Grenfell families for the Inquiry to investigate how issues of racism contributed to the tragedy.

In a letter to Inquiry Chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, ahead of the final day before recess, the Mayor set out his belief that the Inquiry’s terms of reference failed to include wider questions about social housing and the treatment of tenants.

While Sadiq supports the Inquiry’s initial focus on discrimination by asking questions about the means of escape from the tower for disabled residents, he has called for an assessor to the Inquiry to be appointed with relevant experience of social housing and an understanding of inequality and discrimination.

The Prime Minister vowed in February to shortlist potential candidates for a third member of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry panel “as a matter of urgency”, but more than five months on there has been little or no progress. The Mayor has written to the Prime Minister for a third time, calling for the Government to appoint a panel member in time for when the Inquiry returns in September. Sadiq believes any further delay will erode trust in the Inquiry process.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We must all do everything in our power to learn the lessons from Grenfell and prevent a similar disaster from ever happening again. This includes investigating the role that discrimination and inequality played in this tragedy – something sorely lacking from the Inquiry so far.

“I believe it’s crucial that we explore the issue of social housing in this country and I urge the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to give this greater attention when it reconvenes again in September. This Inquiry provides an opportunity to bring about meaningful change to how residents are treated, and to ensure they can feel safe in their homes.

“The Prime Minister and his Government need to turn warm words into proper action – the lack of progress and communication is simply unacceptable. The Prime Minister promised urgency in appointing a new panel member to the Inquiry, but five months on, the bereaved, next of kin, survivors and residents of Grenfell Tower are still waiting for the independent and diverse panel they deserve, and what we know is essential for the full trust of the community.”