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Speaker urges Grenfell families to keep fighting for the truth

11 May 2018 (updated on 11 May 2018)

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Survivors and bereaved families from the Grenfell Tower tragedy have been urged by the Speaker of the House of Commons to keep the spotlight firmly focused on their plight.

At a gathering to allow former Grenfell residents to meet parliamentarians, John Bercow said they should “show their strength” at a Westminster Hall debate next week on the fire, which killed 71 people.

His intervention came ahead of Theresa May’s decision on Friday to allow a panel of experts to sit alongside a judge at the Grenfell Tower disaster inquiry – following a petition signed by more than 156,000 people.

At an event in Speaker’s House earlier this week, Mr Bercow told Grenfell United - the main group representing bereaved and survivors of Grenfell - that what happened to them was “a scandal”.

He stressed: “I would appeal to you to show your strength by turning up on Monday and making sure that every last inch of legitimate seating space is taken up by people who are passionate for justice.

“You mustn’t let the spotlight shift, you mustn’t allow the questions to go unanswered. You mustn’t facilitate any abdication of responsibility at any level for trying to arrive at the truth and secure justice.

“It is vital that the people whose lives have been transformed horrifically and beyond recognition are given the chance gradually to piece those lives together once again.”

More than 80 MPs from across all the political parties attended the event at Speaker’s House, which gave Grenfell United supporters the chance to share their experiences with parliamentarians.

Adel Chaoui, who lost four relatives in the fire, was one of those who led a petition calling for expert panel members to be added to the inquiry.

He thanked the Prime Minister and said they were “relieved” that the step had been taken, but added that survivors should not have had to campaign for it.

A spokeswoman for Grenfell United said being able to meet MPs and the Speaker earlier this week “had had a huge impact”. 

“It gave us an opportunity to explain how our lives have been turned upside down as a result of this tragedy,” she said.

“We now hope that what the MPs have learnt from us will motivate them to do the right thing in order to bring about justice for us and change so that this never happens again.

“We also want immediate action to end delays in survivors being rehomed.”