Mon, 11 December 2023

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By Building Societies Association

Labour MP calls for Grenfell inquiry judge to be removed from his post

John Ashmore

2 min read

The retired judge appointed to lead the Grenfell Tower inquiry should be removed from his position because he lacks "empathy" with victims, according to the local Labour MP. 

Sir Martin Moore-Bick has faced criticism from campaigners after he said the scope of his investigation would be "limited to the problems surrounding the start of the fire and its rapid development".

He has also faced questions about a ruling he made in favour of Westminster Council rehousing a tenant 50 miles from her previous home - a decision that was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court. 

Emma Dent Coad, who won Kensington from the Tories at the general election, said she wanted Sir Martin removed from the inquiry. 

"Yes, I do, I really do - within seconds of his name being announced everybody was on Google, looked him up," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"How anybody like that could have any empathy for what these people have been through, I just don't understand. I don't think he has really, I mean his record, we need someone we can trust there." 

She said the former judge's technical expertise was not in doubt, but questioned whether he would be responsive to residents' concerns.

"A technocrat is maybe not really what we need right now. Yes you need someone who can do the detail but we need somebody who can actually understand human beings as well and what they've been through.

"I've been talking to hundreds of people who have been affected, either from the tower or neighbouring or people who have been volunteering, they need someone they can talk to, someone with a bit of a human face.

Asked whether he should be removed, she replied: "He's been appointed, it's down to the people who appointed him. I don't think he should do it, I don't think there will be any credibility and some people are saying they won't cooperate with it, so it's not going to work."

Her comments come after fellow Labour MP David Lammy expressed disappointment that a "white, upper-middle class man" had been chosen to lead the inquiry. 

"He needs to get close to those victims and survivors very, very quickly and establish that he is after the truth and he is fearless and independent and he won't be swayed because he too is a part of the establishment," Mr Lammy told Sky News.

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