Theresa May leads outpouring of grief after 'heartbreaking' blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral

Posted On: 
16th April 2019

Theresa May last night led an outpouring of grief from MPs over the “terrible” fire at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

The fire started in the early evening
PA Images

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the emergency services and the people of France as the 850-year-old gothic landmark was partially destroyed.

Some MPs meanwhile drew comparisons with the Palace of Westminster, which many have warned is at grave risk of a catastrophic fire.

The fire in Notre Dame started in the early evening yesterday and quickly spread to the roof of the cathedral before being declared under control some nine hours later.

Onlookers wept last night as the spire and roof of the cathedral collapsed in the inferno, but firefighters managed to save the main structure and iconic two towers.

Mrs May said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the blaze was “heartbreaking for the millions who love this great cathedral and great city across the world”.

His Labour counterpart Emily Thornberry meanwhile said she was “so very shocked and saddened to see the terrible fire at the great Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame”.  
She added: “What a terrible loss at the heart of a wonderful city.”

And Labour deputy leader Tom Watson was one of many MPs who broke into French as he declared: “My thoughts for the Parisians tonight. I know that the British will gather to provide all their support for the restoration of the Cathedral -Lady of Paris.”

Other MPs from across the political divide piled in on Twitter to express their sadness.

French President Emmanuel Macron last night said France would "rebuild this cathedral all together".

"It's undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we'll have for the coming years," he added.

"That's what the French expect [and] because it's what our history deserves."


Meanwhile, Labour MP Chris Bryant noted fears that the Palace of Westminster could also be at risk of a massive fire.

A restoration of Parliament is not due to begin until the mid-2020s.