'Some care to a deeper extent' - Jeremy Corbyn attacks Theresa May over Grenfell Tower blaze response

Posted On: 
18th June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has stepped up his criticism of Theresa May over Grenfell Tower by claiming some people care about the tragedy “to a deeper extent” than others.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on ITV's Peston on Sunday show

The Labour leader reiterated his call for empty homes in the area to be seized by the state and given to the families made homeless by the fire, which is thought to have claimed the lives of at least 58 people.

The Prime Minister was criticised for not meeting those affected by the blaze in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and yesterday she acknowledged the immediate support offered to victims was “not good enough”.

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The Goverment has announced a £5m central fund for immediate relief to the families, as well as civil servants stepping in to help coordinate efforts on the ground.

But she remains the target of fierce criticism from many within the Kensington area who are unhappy with the Government’s response.

Mr Corbyn was asked today whether he believed Mrs May cared about the disaster.

“I think everybody cares to an extent – some to a deeper extent – and some show empathy in a different way to others,” he replied on ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

“But the real issue is not about what we as individuals feel – Theresa May, me, anybody else – it’s what those people are going through.”

Conservative minister Andrea Leadsom said today she felt a sense of “shame” in the aftermath of the disaster.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics, she said: “Totally, yes. Of course. Of course. We all think what should we have done, could we have done? It’s just unbearable. This cannot happen in the 21st century and yet it has.”

Mr Corbyn questioned why people whose flights are delayed at airports are able to get emergency accommodation when those left homeless could not.

And he stood by his call for empty homes in the area to be taken over by the state and handed to the victims.

“I don’t think it’s controversial at all,” he said.

Quizzed on what mechanism he would use to claim the property, he answered:

“Occupy it, compulsory purchase it, requisition it, there’s a lot of things you can do.

“But can’t we as a society just think, all of us, it’s all very well putting our arms round people during a crisis but homelessness is rising, the housing crisis is getting worse and my point was quite a simple one: in an emergency you have to bring all assets to the table in order to deal with that crisis and that is what I think we should be doing in this case.”