UK

Grenfell Tower: Consultation on inquiry extended

Grenfell Tower fire Image copyright Getty Images

Grenfell Tower survivors have been given an extra week to say what the public inquiry should focus on.

The consultation period was extended by two weeks in July after seven days was deemed not long enough, but it will now be further extended to 4 August.

At least 80 people are believed to be dead after the blaze on 14 June.

A spokesman said the inquiry chair "took this decision in response to feedback from local residents and survivors of the fire".

The inquiry, ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May on 15 June, will look into what happened at the west London tower fire and make recommendations to prevent a similar tragedy happening again.

Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who is leading the probe, announced the extension at a meeting with residents and interested parties on Wednesday.

He has also written to groups representing those affected by the fire.

Sir Martin said he would make his recommendations to Mrs May shortly after the deadline.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police have said the final death toll will not be known until at least the end of the year

The retired judge's appointment has been criticised, with some residents and MPs calling for him to stand down.

Sir Martin faced a meeting of "frustration, anger and confusion" in July when he tried to reassure people he was the right person for the job.

Meanwhile, Kensington's Labour MP Emma Dent Coad has said he lacked "credibility".

But the justice secretary encouraged people to give Sir Martin a chance, saying, "I'm very confident we will get some terms of reference that will get to the truth".

Sir Martin has previously said an interim report into the disaster could be produced within a year but admitted the inquiry would be "challenging".

"I would hope to be able to answer the basic factual questions, such as how did the fire start, how did it spread, how was it able to engulf the building in such speed and also questions such as what internal precautions there were, what steps were available for alerting residents and allowing them to escape".

Family of victims named

Grenfell Legal Support says it is calling for diversity on the panel and for residents to be involved in the inquiry.

Co-founder Khatija Sacranie added there was "reluctance" to address gentrification issues and an "underlying disregard of certain communities that led to the disaster".

"The expansion in timeframe won't assist if the approach remains one of 'us' and 'them'," she said.

Meanwhile, at an inquest on Wednesday, three members of the same family were named among the victims of the blaze.

Bassem Choukair, 40, Mierna Choukair, 13, and Nadia Choucair, 33 were found on the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower.

Gary Maunders, 57, was also named by the coroner and was found on the 23rd floor.

The provisional cause of death for the four was given as being "consistent with the effects of fire", and the victims were identified by their dental records.

All four inquests were adjourned at Westminster Coroner's Court.

Some 39 victims have now been identified with the coroner saying there were "many more" to come.

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