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Calls for diverse Grenfell inquiry panel ‘still being ignored’

Campaigners continue to hold silent marches through streets near scene of fire disaster

23 March, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Grenfell Tower 

EXPECTATIONS of a diverse panel overseeing the Grenfell inquiry are “near zero”, according to campaigners.

In December prime minister Theresa May rejected a request from survivors of the disaster for a “diverse” decision-making panel to sit alongside the head of the public inquiry. Bereaved family members and survivors had repeatedly raised concerns about the suitability of retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the inquiry which begins in Holborn Bars business centre on May 21.

This week, the Justice4Grenfell group said: “This has raised serious questions about the commitment of this inquiry to put those most impacted at the heart of it.”

Its statement added: “We enter the doors of Holborn Bars with the question still firmly in our minds: Seventy-two dead, no diverse inquiry panel, how come?’

“It has been three months since the last procedural hearing of the public inquiry. Three months in which suvivors and displaced families have struggled through a quagmire of institutional indifference from the local authority.

“The Justice4Grenfell campaign demanded a diverse panel in June 2017. Bereaved families took a petition to Downing Street in December asking for the same. It was in the gift of the prime minister to grant this – she refused. It appeared particularly heartless, especially as it was announced over the seasonal break.”

The Justice4Grenfell group has continued its monthly silent marches through the streets around North Kensington since the fire in June. They are urging the country “not to forget the horror that happened to Grenfell”.

Its statement this week added: “The sarcophagus of Grenfell Tower stands as a monument to what the North Kensington community has endured over the past nine months.”

In December Mrs May said she would not consider changing the panel members as it would delay the proceedings.

She added: “I am very conscious of the need for the inquiry to complete its initial report as quickly as reasonably possible. I therefore consider that additional panel members should not be appointed at this stage.”

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