11 December 2017 - Inquiry into Grenfell Tower Fire about to Start
Human Rights Commission to launch independent inquiry into Grenfell Tower fire
Harriet Agerholm (The Independent, 10/12/2017)
Britain's human rights watchdog is to launch an inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.
Independent public body The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will examine whether the Government and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea failed in their duties to protect life and provide safe housing.
The new probe comes after the main public inquiry, which is chaired by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, got underway. The official investigation has come under fire for excluding the role social housing policy played in the disaster.
Its chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will look into the best way for witnesses to give evidence.
It comes as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of "failing" survivors of the 14 June blaze, with more than 100 still living in hotels.
Editorial (The Guardian, 10/12/2017)
The tragic – and, many believe, wilful – failure of central and local government to respond to tenants’ well-founded concerns about the management of their block, and the resistance at ministerial level to enacting recommendations made by an earlier inquiry into the Lakanal House fire in a similar block in south London in 2009 is only the start of the charge sheet that has so undermined confidence. The immediate response from the prime minister down to individual Kensington and Chelsea councillors was pitiable. The institutional inadequacies, newly itemised in a report by the neighbouring London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, found a total absence of leadership. And even now, six months later, 103 families, including 29 with children, are still in emergency accommodation, waiting to be rehoused. That history alone puts an exceptional burden on the inquiry.
Martin Coulter (The Evening Standard, 10/12/2017)
Inquest, which supports relatives at coroners' court and inquiries, wants victims' families and lawyers to be able to participate more fully in the investigation.
They say adopting procedures from the Hillsborough inquiry, including preparing and listening to emotional "pen portraits" of those who died, would improve public confidence.