MPs debate Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s Phase 1 Report

21 January 2020

On Tuesday 21 January 2020, MPs took part in a general debate on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s Phase 1 Report in the House of Commons.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry's Phase 1 Report was published in October 2019. MPs debated the findings of the report and agreed that it had been considered in the House of Commons.

Debate

Robert Jenrick MP: "answers, accountability, justice and action"

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick told MPs that the report made important recommendations for emergency services and for the continued presence of unsafe cladding on buildings.

He announced that the Government will publish the final results of the testing process of different cladding materials. He also told Members that the Government will introduce two bills as a result of the Phase 1 Report, and announced that he was working with colleagues from the Home Office to review evacuation guidelines.

Mr Jenrick said:

"The 72 victims, the bereaved, the survivours and everyone effected, we offer them our profound condolences. […] They seek answers, accountability, justice and action to ensure that this terrible tragedy is never repeated."

John Healey MP: "so much still to do"

Shadow Minister for Housing, John Healey, emphasised the "frustration" that there is "so much still to do" to prevent similar disasters, raising cases of similar residential fires. He asked why 315 high-rise blocks are still wrapped in Grenfell-style cladding and why the Government has not yet published any legislation to overhaul building safety rules.

The Shadow Minister highlighted that some Grenfell survivors still do not have permanent housing and stated that delays in releasing reports mean the exact cause of the fire is still unknown. He also criticised the Prime Minister's recent appointment to the Inquiry panel due to her links to the firm responsible for the cladding.

Mr Healey told MPs:

"I never thought I would be standing here, two-and-a-half years after that Grenfell Tower fire, facing a Secretary of State that is still unable to say all the steps have been taken so that we can […] say to the country a fire like Grenfell can never happen again."

Legislation

The Government plans to introduce two bills to deal with:

  • The Fire Safety Bill, which will be introduced in the coming weeks. This will widen the scope of the risks assessed ad precautionary measures required. It will also make clear the enforcement powers available locally against building owners who have not dealt with ACM cladding.
  • A bill that will begin to address the recommendations of the Phase 1 Report. This bill will require building owners to share information on external wall systems with emergency services and carry out checks of doorways.

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