Grenfell inquiry - fighting for justice
On 14th December, the six month anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, I wrote to the Prime Minister regarding the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry.
I also attended the memorial service at St Paul's cathedral, an important moment for the country to come together to support the Grenfell families, remember those who lost their lives and commit to fighting for justice for all those who lived in Grenfell Tower. I spoke to the BBC and Sky News about the service and the public inquiry - you can watch the interviews here and here.
In my letter I said that the state has failed to regain the trust of the survivors, the families of the victims and the wider community, and that the Public Inquiry has failed to gain the confidence of these individuals:
"The residents of Grenfell Tower were failed by a state that ignored their concerns and failed to listen to or heed the warnings that they made. When so many lives have been lost and so many people have experienced trauma of this magnitude as a result of failures on the part of the state, gaining the trust of the survivors of this tragedy and the families of those who lost their lives in Grenfell Tower will not be easy. That being said, this is a prerequisite if justice is to be done and if the survivors, families and wider community are going to reach a sense of closure".
I urged the Prime Minister to appoint additional members to the Inquiry panel to better represent the experiences and lives of those who lived in Grenfell Tower as an important step in rebuilding trust.
"A narrow investigation focusing on the technical failings that led to the fire and marginalising the voices and experiences of the victims will only serve to increase the palpable sense of neglect and mistrust that already exists. These people need to be heard, and they need to feel as though they are being heard loud and clear, in recognition of the fact that the state ignoring their voices in fact cost so many lives and broke so many more.
The inquiry must leave no stone unturned and pull no punches in getting to the truth and holding those responsible to account for this tragedy in the pursuit of the justice that these people need and must receive. It is also important to recognise that the Inquiry must therefore command the trust and confidence of those people on whose behalf it purports to seek justice from the outset".
I also wrote an article for The Times: The Grenfell inquiry will fail unless it gains the people's trust.