Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen
This live blog is now closing. Here is a summary of the evening’s events:
The communities and local government secretary, Sajid Javid, revealed that the number of blocks found to have been clad in combustible material has risen from seven to 11. In a letter to MPs, he said the disaster had changed his understanding of what it is to be a cabinet minister.
In his letter to MPs confirming the new total of buildings with combustible cladding, Sajid Javid said Camden, Manchester and Plymouth were three areas where buildings had failed the test but stressed he could not reveal more because local residents in the others have not yet been informed, despite landlords being alerted to results. He wrote:
I also want to reassure colleagues that you will be made aware if any sites are in your constituency by the local authority in the first instance – my department stands ready to assist colleagues if further information is required.
To ensure that local authorities and housing associations know how to respond where tests do show action is needed, my department has today written to every one of them to ensure they know what immediate steps they should take if the testing shows cladding material is unlikely to be compliant with current building regulations, and I attach a copy of this for your information.
As a minister, I have always been prepared to make tough decisions. I understood the pressures that come with public life but this disaster has shaken my comprehension of what it means to be in office. I have met some of the victims of Grenfell, I have witnessed for myself the grief and anger of those who have lost so much – more than just their possessions but also their loved ones, their security and their memories.
This government will do everything possible not just to replace houses and provide immediate relief, but to seek justice for those people who have been failed. This tragedy should weigh on the consciousness of every person tasked with making a decision so this can never happen again.
Nick Paget-Brown, the Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, has admitted the body failed in its response to the Grenfell Tower disaster. He faced calls to resign earlier today, though the prime minister declined to add her voice to them. Paget-Brown apologised, saying:
Council workers have been on duty around the clock since 1.30am on the day of the fire, helping local residents and the families of the victims. I have nothing but praise for their truly heroic efforts
However, although individual council officers have worked so hard and delivered so much, it is clear that there has been a failing in our collective response. We could have done a better job at co-ordinating what happened on the ground and we weren’t able to re-home people as fast as we would have liked. We are truly sorry for that.
Work is under way to assess the housing needs of all Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk families to identify suitable accommodation. All the identified properties are in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, or a neighbouring borough, and none will be in towers.
People rightly have many questions about this tragedy, and they will be answered. Lessons will be learned from the Grenfell Tower fire and the government has launched a full public inquiry. We will cooperate in full with this and all other investigations.
The number of high-rise blocks of flats found to have combustible cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower has risen to 11, across eight local authority areas in England, the communities and local government secretary, Sajid Javid, has said in a letter to MPs.
The Conservative party has said it did not break the law by contracting a company to call voters during the general election campaign after Channel 4 News obtained secret footage of the call centre.
According to the programme, the Tories may have broken data protection and election laws by using Blue Telecoms, a firm in Neath, South Wales, to directly contact voters in marginal seats.
It was reported in the Daily Mirror in September last year that Jeremy Corbyn is not concerned about the numbers of people coming to live in the UK and it was reported on Sky News this year that Theresa May has restated her pledge to reduce net migration.
Just thinking about these reports in the media and the reports that you live in a marginal constituency that may determine who is prime minister… Does that make you more likely to back Theresa May or more likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn?
Political parties of all colours pay for market research and direct marketing calls. All the scripts supplied by the party for these calls are compliant with data protection and information law.
Following the news that nine tower blocks in Salford have similar cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower, residents in one of the buildings have told the Guardian that fire officers had been carrying out checks on each of its 22 floors earlier on Thursday. Many residents had also received a card from Pendleton Together marked “Urgent – please could you get in touch with us as soon as possible,” which said it referred to a fire survey.
Salford tower block residents got this leaflet today. Some told me fire officers have been carrying out checks today on all 22 floors. http://pic.twitter.com/CuZJBw4PGO
Dozens of residents here have signed petition outlining concerns about fire safety – and this was before the cladding news today http://pic.twitter.com/XP3hcc7Ycd
I’m horrified. It’s a hell of a situation, I’ve been here 14 years and I’ve been happy here but this business in London has frightened the life out of everybody. There’s three disabled people on this floor – I’m worried sick in our situation.
There’s no sprinklers, no fire alarms, the front doors are automatic – imagine if there was a fire.
Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster have had their outstanding energy bills written off by by power companies, the government says.
Those who have been resettled will not be put on more expensive tariffs, while direct debit payments will be put on hold and people will not be charged for energy “for the period after the fire”. The business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, said:
Businesses should play an active role in society and I am pleased that all the energy companies supplying Grenfell Tower have come together and agreed to a set of principles in support of families who have already lost so much.
EU leaders have taken a “historic” step towards closer defence integration, the European Council president, Donald Tusk, has announced.
All members of the 28-nation bloc will be invited to join a permanent defence structure. The step has become possible only because of the expected withdrawal form the EU of the UK, which has long opposed such co-operation.
Leaders agreed on the need to set up permanent EU co-operation on defence. It is a historic step because such co-operation will allow the EU to move towards deeper integration in defence.
Our aim is for it to be ambitious and inclusive and every EU country is invited to join.
European Union leaders have threatened to pass legislation to force internet companies to take down extremist and terrorist material if they fail to act voluntarily.
Theresa May and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, agreed in Paris last week to press social media and tech firms to move forward with the establishment of an industry-led forum to develop tools to automatically identify and remove unacceptable material, with the threat that regulatory or legislative action could follow if they fail to do so.
Terrorism is still a major threat. We are fully determined to protect our people. To that end, the European Council agreed to deepen our efforts against foreign terrorist fighters.
We are calling on social media companies to do whatever is necessary to prevent the spread of terrorist material on the internet. In practice, this means developing new tools to detect and remove such material automatically. If need be, we are ready to also adopt relevant legislation.
The Scottish government has said no publicly-owned high rise blocks in Scotland use the aluminium composite cladding implicated in the Grenfell tower disaster, after checks were carried out by all of the country’s 32 councils.
Ministers have set up a new working group chaired by Angela Constance, the Scottish communities secretary, to review building and fire regulations with the fire brigade, building standards and housing officials.
Scottish building regulations state that cladding on high rise domestic buildings built since 2005, and cladding added to existing high rise domestic buildings since 2005, should be made of non-combustible materials or a cladding system that has met stringent fire tests.
External cladding on high rise domestic buildings built before 2005 has to meet a Class 0 classification which was the most demanding anti-flame spread classification at that time.
Sprinkler systems and other fire suppression measures are to be fitted to residential tower blocks in Birmingham, the city’s council says.
Its leader, John Clancy, said the 213 blocks of flats the council owns would be looked at “as a matter of urgency … to assess what work needs to be undertaken to reassure tenants that their homes are safe”. Clancy said he was prepared to find up to an estimated £31m to retrospectively put in place safety measures.
Nine tower blocks in Salford use similar cladding to that on Grenfell Tower, Salford city council has confirmed. The recently-refurbished buildings near the Salford Lad’s Club in Pendleton use aluminium composite material (ACM).
A council spokesman said samples of the cladding had been sent to DCLG to check whether or not they were combustible, but that it had not received the results.
We are aware that our residents are asking a number of questions about the cladding used to refurbish the Pendleton blocks. We appreciate that this is obviously a matter of real concern to Pendleton residents and their families.
The cladding used in Pendleton is Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). This was fitted correctly to the manufacturer’s specification and certified by an independent expert.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba), which represents architects across the UK and Ireland, says it has been raising concerns for years about the new regulatory regime in construction which allows “fire risk self-assessment”.
It also says it was not happy with developments that mean the lead designer is no longer responsible for oversight of specification of materials and products.
The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has demanded greater transparency from the government over the measures being taken to make tower blocks safe.
From the very first taskforce meeting I attended I said we have got to provide the reassurance that people need because, not unreasonably, if you live in a tower block you are worried, if you have got friends and family who live in a tower block you are worried.
We need to make sure that even if they have got cladding that’s safe, has it been properly installed?
I’m pleased there’s been an improvement. They have definitely raised their game, but they have got to do even better.
They have got to make sure that on the ground in north Kensington there is swifter information, more information to the residents, outreach work is done to make sure there’s bespoke help given to every single family, every single resident.
We have set up the inquiry to get to the cause of this. It’s very important we understand the facts. There are a number of theories around about cladding but it’s very important we get to the bottom of what actually caused the fire to spread so quickly and so devastatingly.
We are going to make sure we get those lessons learned as quickly as possible in the investigation.
I think it’s clear that any changes in the wake of this tragedy shouldn’t just be technical, or to legislation.
What happened at Grenfell Tower also showed us all that we need a change in attitude.
Here is more on the latest figures for the number of tower blocks with combustible cladding. This is from the Press Association:
Combustible cladding has been found on seven high-rise blocks of flats in four local authority areas in England, Downing Street has said.
Samples taken from the buildings failed government tests to determine whether the cladding is combustible but that does not mean the tower blocks are unsafe, with that to be determined after more checks by the fire and rescue services, Theresa May’s deputy spokeswoman said.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has updated its figure for the number of tower blocks now found to be covered with combustible cladding of the type used on Grenfell Tower. A spokesman said seven high-rise buildings have now failed the test.
The seven buildings are in four local authority areas, No 10 said.
Norman Lamb has written an article for the Guardian explaining why he is not running for the party leadership. Here is an excerpt.
I have just fought a gruelling campaign to win my North Norfolk seat. Attempting to win a seat for the Liberal Democrats in an area that voted quite heavily to leave the EU was bound to be a challenge. Not only was the party’s position on Brexit toxic to many erstwhile Liberal Democrat voters in North Norfolk, but I found myself sympathising with those who felt that the party was not listening to them and was treating them with some disdain.
I abstained on article 50 because I felt it was wrong in principle to vote against, given that we had all voted to hold the referendum in the first place. For many in the party that abstention was an act of betrayal. I have been accused of supporting a hard Brexit – the last thing I want – while a Lib Dem source told the London Evening Standard this week that the abstention “looks like he can’t make a tough call”. It is actually quite tough to go against your party, and I did it on a matter of principle.
Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden Council, said she was “shocked” when she got the phone call last night to tell her the cladding on the five high rises in the Chalcot Estate in Swiss Cottage was the same as in Grenfell Tower.
The council launched an immediate review of its 13 clad towers in the borough following the inferno in west London and found the five in Chalcot used polyethylene cladding rather than fire resistant cladding as it had specified when it commissioned the refurbishment 10 years ago. Gould said:
Money is not the problem here. Our tenants living in these blocks are our priority and we will deal with the money, discuss it with the government later.
According to the BBC’s Norman Smith, Norman Lamb has decided not to contest the Lib Dem leadership.
On Sky News this afternoon the Labour MP David Lammy called for Nicholas Paget-Brown, the Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, to resign.
[Paget-Brown] should go because of the awful situation the people of Kensington have found themselves in. It is clear that he has lost the confidence of significant tracts of his own community. It is clear that people made complaints and did not get significant response. It is clear that the management of this situation doesn’t just go to the chief executive [who has resigned], it goes to him. And the decent thing for him to do is to step aside. And I think there are real questions about how decent this man [is] …
The situation in Kensington and Chelsea … is a scandal, frankly. How can you have huge reserves and be spending that on giving money back to your wealthier citizens, but not supporting your poorest and actually putting sprinklers in the building. It is for those reasons he should go.
Bob O’Toole, chairman of the residents association of the Burnham block, one of the five high-rises on the Chalcots estate in Swiss Cottage, London, was called to an emergency meeting at Camden council to be told the news on Thursday morning about the cladding being replaced. (See 12.09pm.) He said:
The cladding is going to be changed on all the blocks. They are looking at starting in about six weeks. In the meantime we are going to have 24/7 fire safety patrols in all the blocks.
Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Nottingham city councils confirmed that none of their high-rise blocks had cladding like that on Grenfell Tower. All five said they did not yet know about privately owned buildings in their areas.
A spokeswoman from Newcastle city council said they were now checking building regulation application records for older residential buildings the local authority did not own. “This is to establish if similar cladding works have been carried out as part of historic refurbishments,” she said.
Theresa May is at the EU summit in Brussels. The last two weeks haven’t exactly gone very well for her, but she seems to have found something to laugh about with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
As she arrived at the summit, May said she would be setting out “how the United Kingdom proposes to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and see the rights of UK citizens in Europe protected.”
Tenants in 700 flats in the five tower blocks that make up the Chalcots estate in Swiss Cottage in London received a hand-delivered letter from Camden council this morning advising them that the cladding was the same as that in Grenfell Tower and would be removed immediately. (See 12.09pm.)
Rydon, the company that won the contract for refurbishment in both Swiss Cottage and Grenfell, is now facing potential legal action.
I have been very worried ever since the fire and I feel better now the cladding is coming off.
When there was a fire here a few years ago it didn’t spread. But with the refurbishment they changed the windows and they don’t open fully they just tilt out, so I don’t know how you could even jump out if you had to.
Samples are being taken of the cladding used on three high-rise blocks within Barnet borough by specialists using abseiling equipment.
Two workers in helmets were seen dangling on climbing rope off the edge of Harpenmead Point, removing panels with drills. Similar samples are to be taken from neighbouring blocks Templewood Point and Granville Point.
Specialists using abseil equipment are removing samples of cladding from this tower block in Barnet, to be sent off for further testing. http://pic.twitter.com/Y3pxyhi6Jq
The government is working with local authorities. We will ensure that any essential works that are necessary, in terms of remedial action for safety of these blocks in relation to fire, are taken. There will be different circumstances in different local authorities. We will ensure that the work can be undertaken.
I have made it clear that where work is necessary, resources will be available to ensure that that work can be undertaken. But it is for the government to work with the local authorities to ensure that that takes place.
At least 79 people are dead. It is both a tragedy and an outrage because every single one of those deaths could have been avoided.
The Grenfell Tower residents themselves had raised concerns about the lack of fire safety in their block.
The government has now clarified the line given out at the No 10 lobby briefing about 600 tower blocks having cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower. (See 11.53am.) The spokesperson used the word “similar”, but that was misleading. The government is now saying 600 is the figure for the number of tower blocks with cladding of some kind.
A communities department spokesman said:
The situation is that 600 buildings have cladding. It is not similar; it is all types of cladding. Of these 600, we want landlords to check if they have aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. Of those 600, some of those would have ACM; we want to test them to see if they have ACM.
In the Commons (see 10.24am) the Labour MP David Lammy spoke about his friend Khadija Saye, a talented artist killed in the Grenfell Tower fire. Lammy has also been encouraging people to support the campaign to raise money for the Khadija Saye Memorial Fund, set up “to support young artists like Khadija to realise their potential”.
The London borough of Camden said it would immediately remove cladding from five tower blocks in the borough because it is similar to that which burned rapidly on Grenfell Tower.
Following independent testing of cladding on the Chalcots estate by the Building Research Establishment, the council leader, Georgia Gould, revealed the outer cladding panels on the blocks were also made up of aluminium panels with a polyethylene core.
Camden council has decided it will immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels from the five tower blocks on the Chalcots estate. Camden council will do whatever it takes to ensure our residents are reassured about the safety of their homes.
To ensure such a tragedy is not repeated in Barnet, we have a responsibility to our community to make sure that safety systems are of the highest standard – including investigating whether sprinklers would be appropriate in our high-rise tower blocks. We will be calling on our housing committee to oversee a programme of investment, based on advice from the London fire brigade, to provide added safety and reassurance to our residents. If sprinklers are needed, they will be fitted.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has called for residents in hundreds of tower blocks with flammable cladding to be rehoused immediately unless the government can reassure them that their homes are safe.
His comments came after the government confirmed that councils estimate that 600 high-rise buildings have similar flammable exterior cladding to that used on Grenfell Tower.
There is now a huge amount of work to urgently do to ensure that it is safe for people to remain in properties affected. If not, the government must support people being rehoused immediately while cladding is being removed.
The government needs to ensure all resources necessary are made available to local authorities for the testing process, for checking those tower blocks and for rehousing local people in their local community.
Govt must ensure resources needed for testing tower blocks for combustible cladding & rehousing people locally are urgently made available. http://pic.twitter.com/rrEVW00zcx
Here is more on the latest No 10 statement about the prevalence of Grenfell Tower-type cladding. This is from the Press Association.
Hundreds of tower blocks in England could be covered in similar cladding to Grenfell Tower, councils have estimated.
So far tests have revealed that combustible cladding has been found on at least three tower blocks across the UK, the government has said.
The situation is that 600 buildings have cladding. It is not similar, it is all types of cladding. Of these 600, we want landlords to check if they have aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. Of those 600, some of those would have ACM; we want to test them to see if they have ACM.
The Press Association has just snapped this, from the No 10 lobby briefing.
Councils in England estimate that 600 high-rise buildings have similar cladding to Grenfell Tower, Downing Street said.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding the resignation of Nicholas Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council. Earlier Theresa May refused to back calls for Paget-Brown to go, even though the council chief executive has been forced out. (See 11.07am.) But the Lib Dem MP Tom Brake put out a statement saying:
The prime minister notes that the chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea has resigned, but what about the Conservative political leader? It was a political decision to stockpile huge cash reserves while apparently skimping on safety measures to protect disadvantaged members of the community.
No one is looking for a witch hunt, but if heads are starting to roll, they should be the right ones. There must be political accountability.
Responding to Amber Rudd, Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, asks if Rudd accepts that austerity has contributed to weakening security. And she asks if Rudd accepts the police need more resources.
Rudd says Abbott should wait for the outcome of the Anderson review before concluding that police cuts were a factor.
Amber Rudd, the home secretary, is making a statement now about the recent terror attacks. She says 36 people have been killed, and more than 150 people were hospitalised.
She says these acts of terrorism represent the very worst of humanity.
From Home Secretary’s statement in Parliament just now. A remarkable if rather daunting privilege. http://pic.twitter.com/PA7rS3Z7jd
Theresa May’s statement is over.
Amber Rudd, the home secretary, is making a statement now about the recent terror attacks. I will cover the opening of this before coming back to a summary of what we’ve learnt from the Grenfell Tower exchanges.
The Press Association has more on the discovery of combustible cladding on more tower blocks.
Combustible cladding has been found on at least three tower blocks across the UK, the government has said.
The at-risk buildings are not being identified until the landlords have had the opportunity to inform tenants, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Labour’s Toby Perkins asks if May thinks the Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea council should resign.
May says that is a matter for the Tory group on the council.
Labour’s Chris Williamson asks why May does not accept fire service advice and install sprinklers in all tower blocks.
May says it is not as simple as that. In some blocks, that might not be helpful, she suggests.
Vicky Ford, a Conservative, asks if the inquiry will look at the safety of people working in tower blocks, as well as people living in them.
May says she does want the inquiry to look into this.
Labour’s Jack Dromey says there are 213 tower blocks in Birmingham, housing 10,000 families. He says May is wrong about the Lakanal House inquest. It did recommend the installation of sprinklers.
May reads out from its recommendation. It said providers should consider installing sprinklers in all tower blocks.
Labour’s Anneliese Dodds asks if the government will now abandon the “one in, two out” rule for regulation (saying two regulations must be scrapped for every new one introduced) for fire safety.
May says the government has always taken fire safety very seriously. This will be an issue for the inquiry, she says.
Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft says May has not said the government will pay councils to enable them to carry out work to make flats safe. Will it?
May says, where work is necessary, resources will be available to ensure that that work can be undertaken.
Labour’s Alison McGovern asks May who she thought has forgotten “these people”. Was it George Osborne, who imposed cuts, or ministers who ignored fire safety warnings, or May herself, who is treating “these people” as others?
The prime minister, in concluding her statement, said that we should resolve never to forget these people. I would like to ask her who she thinks forgot these people?
Was it the former chancellor of the exchequer, who defunded local authorities, including my own, still struggling with the consequences of the New Ferry explosion?
Pressed by Labour’s Rachel Reeves on whether the government will pay for councils to remove dangerous cladding, May says the government is working with councils. There will be “different circumstances” in different places, she says. But she says the government will ensure that the work gets done.
I have been updating some of the earlier posts with direct quotes from the exchanges. To get them to show up, you may need to refresh the page.
Labour’s Karen Buck says she is still waiting to hear May say that the government will underwrite the costs to councils of dealing with dangerous cladding.
May says the government is providing the testing. And it will work with councils to address this matter, she says.
Labour’s Maria Eagle asks what is being done to ensure landlords can swiftly deal with combustible cladding.
May says that work is under way already. Buildings can be made safe in a number of ways.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative, says surveys show people do not want to live in tower blocks. Can we get rid of them so they are a thing of the past?
May says some people don’t like living in tower blocks. But others are comfortable living in them. We do need to look at social housing, she says.
Labour’s Angela Eagle asks if it was right for Kensington and Chelsea to be giving money back to council tax payers when their housing had these problems.
May says the inquiry will look at how the regulations were applied. The regulations date from 2006. It will also look at how they were applied, and it will get to the bottom of who was responsible.
Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts says those in government need to “search their souls” over their possible responsibility.
May says the government will do everything it can to ensure this never happens again.
May says she expects to announce the name of the judge leading the inquiry within the next few days.
In response to another question about the cladding, May says this is part of the criminal investigation. She says MPs will want to ensure that nothing that they do prejudices any prosecution.
Theresa May’s reluctance to say whether or not the Grenfell Tower cladding was compliant with building regulations is strange because on Sunday Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said it was illegal on buildings of that height.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper says the cladding used on Grenfell Tower is a standard product. She does not understand why May cannot say whether or not it was compliant with building regulations.
May repeats the point about the material being tested by the fire service.
Labour’s Hilary Benn asks if the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was compliant with building regulations.
May says the fire service is testing the cladding on the building. It expects to make the results available in the next 48 hours.
The Lib Dem MP Tom Brake asks if the government will ban the use of combustible materials.
May says building regulations set out what can and cannot be used. The inquiry will look at this, she says.
Kevin Hollinrake, a Conservative, asks if the government will provide encouragement to retrofit sprinklers when they are carrying out refurbishments.
May acknowledges that the Lakanal House inquest did say this should be encouraged.
The Labour MP David Lammy says a woman that he and his wife mentored died in the fire. He asks why more is not being said about the criminal investigation.
May says there is an ongoing police investigation. It is not for her to get involved. But if people should be charged, they will be.
Richard Bacon, a Conservative, asks the government to impose punitive taxes on owners who leave flats empty. He says in London foreign landlords buy luxury flats and never use them.
In recent years London has seen many high-quality high-rises being built, often financed with hot foreign money and then left empty for years, sometimes with the kitchens clingfilmed and pristine.
While we all understand there are occasions where a landlord will need to leave an apartment empty from time to time, when brand new properties are empty for many years does the prime minister think it’s right to discuss with (the chancellor) changing the taxation regime so that, as in New York City, these people face punitive taxation?
I understand, in fact, the number of empty homes is actually at low levels at the moment, and of course we always look to see what we can do. What we want to ensure is that people are housed and that properties are being used for the purpose for which they have been built.
Labour’s Harriet Harman, whose constituency includes Lakanal House, says the news that more tower blocks with combustible cladding have been found is chilling. She says May must get a grip on this. She should use Cobra to set a deadline for councils to check their cladding. She must also commit resources to replace that within a certain timetable.
Harman says the Lakanal House inquest recommendations have not been acted upon, contrary to what May said. The inquest recommended the installation of sprinklers, she says. If they had been acted upon, Grenfell Tower would not have happened.
It’s not good enough to just congratulate or encourage other councils. [May] must take a grip on it personally.
She said the Lakanal House coroner’s inquest findings had been acted upon. But I will tell her they have not.
Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP, says people in positions of authority will be fearing the public inquiry. He asks how will local residents get a proper say in the terms of reference?
May says it will be a judge-led inquiry. It will be completely independent. She wants people to know that, when it publishes its findings, they will represent the truth.
Emma Dent Coad, the new Labour MP for Kensington, says she is speaking on behalf of a frightened and traumatised community.
She asks if the goverment will reverse fire service cuts.
Ian Blackford, the new SNP leader at Westminster, is speaking now.
He asks if the government will make more money available if the £5m for the relief fund is not enough.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative former work and pensions secretary, asks if it is feasible to retrofit these old tower blocks. Would it be better to pull these buildings down and replace them?
Can I however, in the course of the public inquiry, ask her to add to the public inquiry one further remit?
And that is to look at whether or not this whole process of retrofitting these old tower blocks is in fact viable at all, and whether or not there is a better way to both house and support tenants in these areas, without the use of many of these incredibly badly designed and very faulty tower blocks.
He’s suggesting that the inquiry should in fact go a great deal further than looking into this particular incident.
I think what is important, and we will ensure that the survivors and local residents have an input into the terms of reference for this inquiry, to make sure it is an inquiry they can have confidence in, and that they know will produce the results that they need and the justice that they need.
May is replying to Corbyn.
She starts by joining Corbyn in praising the work of Emma Dent Coad, the new Labour MP for Kensington, for the work she has done following the fire.
Here is the start of the Press Association story about Theresa May’s opening statement.
Theresa May has said tests on tower blocks following the Grenfell tragedy have shown cladding on some blocks is “combustible”.
The prime minister said local authorities and fire services concerned are taking “all possible steps” to ensure buildings are safe and residents have been informed.
Jeremy Corbyn is responding now.
He says he is glad that the Kensington and Chelsea chief executive has resigned, but he asks why the political leaders of the council are not taking responsibility for what happened.
From Hillsborough, to the child sex abuse scandal, to Grenfell Tower – the pattern is consistent: working-class people’s voices are ignored, their concerns dismissed by those in power.
The Grenfell Tower residents and North Kensington community deserve answers and thousands and thousands of people living in tower blocks around the country need very urgent reassurance.
May says 151 homes were destroyed. Most of those were in the tower, but some were in the immediate vicinity.
She says people will be rehoused in equivalent homes. Some 68 flats have already been offered at cost price in a new block of flats, she says.
I know many others living in tall residential buildings will have concerns about their safety after what happened at Grenfell.
All social landlords have been instructed to carry out additional fire safety checks on tower blocks and ensure the appropriate safety and response measures are in place.
Theresa May is speaking now.
She starts by apologising to Jeremy Corbyn for the short notice he has had.
I would like to reassure people that we will not use this tragic incident as a reason to carry out immigration checks on those involved or on those providing information to identify victims or those assisting with the criminal investigation.
We will make sure that all victims, irrespective of their immigration status, will be able to access the services they need including healthcare and accommodation.
Theresa May is about to make a Commons statement on the Grenfell Tower fire.
My colleague Daniel Boffey, the Guardian’s Brussels bureau chief, says a four-year transitional deal would be unacceptable to the European parliament.
Hammond’s 4 year transition period a year more than limit the European parliament said was acceptable in resolution https://t.co/8BAWOU2prK
One of the criticisms made of Theresa May over Brexit is that she has done little to prepare the public for the compromises it is likely to involve. For example, it has been clear for some time that there is likely to be a transitional period after Brexit during which some of the features of EU membership (payments to the EU budget, European court of justice jurisdiction, free movement) will continue to apply to the UK. Perhaps the Daily Mail will be perfectly happy with that, but one suspects not, and May has done little to argue why it might be desirable.
This morning the issue opened up on the Today programme when Philip Hammond, the chancellor, suggested the transitional period could last as long as four years. John Humphrys, who was interviewing him, did a good job of confronting him with the likely Mail reaction.
Companies in Germany who want to supply components to car manufacturers in the UK, if they are going to set up contracts that have three- or four-year terms, need to know the basis on which they will be supplying those concerns in years three or four.
JH: So we could have a transitional agreement that lasts for three or four years or perhaps even more? And that would be overseen by the European court of justice, wouldn’t it?
PH: Well, all these things remain to be negotiated.
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