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Tue, 11 August 2020

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Labour frontbenchers reject John McDonnell claim that Grenfell victims were 'murdered'

Labour frontbenchers reject John McDonnell claim that Grenfell victims were 'murdered'

John Ashmore

2 min read

John McDonnell has come under fire from Labour colleagues about his claim that the Grenfell Tower victims were “murdered” by political decisions.

The Shadow Chancellor made the controversial comments during a fringe event at Glastonbury festival this weekend.

But several Labour MPs have since cautioned him about his use of language, with shadow Housing Minister John Healey saying earlier this week that he “wouldn’t use the word murder” to describe the tragedy.

Former minister Margaret Hodge also hit out at the remarks, calling them “the language of the hard left”.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May urged MPs not to try to apportion blame before the investigation into the tragedy has concluded.

"There are real issues here. We're not going to get to the truth by pointing figures. We will with calm determination,” she said.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith also called for caution and rejected the idea the victims had been ‘murdered’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “I wouldn’t use that language, no, because I think the people who have been affected by this have been affected in such awful ways I think we have all got to be extremely sensitive in the language we use.”

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said Mr McDonnell had been “very angry” and was renowned for using “colourful language”.

“He feels very strongly about this and he used the language he did,” she told the Daily Politics.

“It isn’t something I would have said myself; he’s responsible for what he said.”

But a senior Labour source defended Mr McDonnell, telling PoliticsHome: "John was clearly expressing the huge anger that not only exists in the communities affected, and the families and survivors, but also in the area and across the country about decisions that have been taken over years which have had a clear impact in terms of reducing safety and increasing the risk to communities."


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