'Not in my name': Senior Labour MP rejects John McDonnell’s claim Grenfell victims were 'murdered'

Posted On: 
26th June 2017

A former Labour minister has distanced herself from John McDonnell’s claim that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were “murdered by political decisions”.

The Government announced yesterday that cladding on some 60 high rise buildings in England had failed safety tests
Credit: 
PA Images

Margaret Hodge said the Shadow Chancellor was using the “language of the hard left”, adding that the comments were “not done in my name.”

The Shadow Chancellor argued that a combination of underinvestment in social housing and cuts to the fire service contributed to the disaster, which is known to have killed at least 79 people.

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Speaking at Glastonbury festival yesterday, Mr McDonnell characterised the Grenfell fire as a failure of democracy.

"Is democracy working? It didn't work if you were a family living on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower," he told an event hosted by the Guardian.

“Those families, those individuals - 79 so far and there will be more - were murdered by political decisions that were taken over recent decades.”

Ms Hodge described the comments as “inappropriate”.

She told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “I agree we should listen to the tenants and we clearly didn’t there. I disagree with the language and I think that is the language of the hard left which is not done in my name. I think it was inappropriate.

“I think where David Lammy is talking about corporate manslaughter there may well be – we’ll have to see where the facts come out – there may well be a case of corporate manslaughter but that’s a very different way of doing it than what John McDonnell has said.

“They [the hard left] don’t own our party and as a democratic party I’m expressing a different view.”

Her condemnation comes after Shadow Housing Minister John Healey said this morning he would not use the word “murder”.

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “I wouldn’t use the word ‘murder’. It’s not yet possible to point to direct cause and effect. We don’t know the full details.”

He added: “I think he was giving voice to the very real anger and disbelief that many people have about how the loss of at least 79 lives in Grenfell Tower could ever have happened. So as a west London Labour MP, I think he was capturing some of the concern some of the residents elsewhere also have.”

The Government announced yesterday that cladding on some 60 high rise buildings in England had failed safety tests.

Hundreds of residents have been moved from tower blocks in the London borough of Camden over the weekend, after concerns were raised over cladding, gas insulation and fire doors.