Theresa May: I will ‘always regret’ not meeting Grenfell survivors sooner
Theresa May has said she will “always regret” not meeting survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire the day after the tragic event.
In an article for the Evening Standard the Prime Minister admitted that her actions in the wake of the blaze were “not good enough” and made victims feel like people in power “didn’t care” about them.
The fire, which ripped through the Kensington high-rise last June, claimed the lives of 72 residents.
Following the tragic event, Mrs May pledged to rehouse survivors within weeks, however, a year on fewer than half of the 209 households in need have moved into a permanent new home.
Today, the Prime Minister wrote: “It was a tragedy unparalleled in recent history and, although many people did incredible work during and after the fire, it has long been clear that the initial response was not good enough.
“I include myself in that. The day after the disaster I made the first of a number of trips to the site, thanking the firefighters for their work and holding a short meeting with the team in charge of the response.
“What I did not do on that first visit, was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze.
“But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair.
“And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn’t care.”
She added: “That was never the case.”
Responding to the admission, Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told PoliticsHome: "A year on from the Grenfell Tower fire, the PM is right to admit the Government's response hasn't been good enough.
"But it is action not an apology that is needed. She must now get all survivors into new homes and make all other tower blocks safe.”
Writing for The House magazine, new Housing Secretary James Brokenshire echoed Mrs May’s words, saying the tragedy “should never have happened. And when it did, the immediate response was simply not good enough.”
An inquiry into the blaze – chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick - is currently underway.