David Cameron refuses to say if he’d attend Grenfell inquiry after ‘ridiculing’ rules

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EXCLUSIVE: Returning red-faced from a morning spot of tennis at a local club, Mr Cameron repeatedly said “morning” to the Mirror but would not answer our questions on the inquiry

Former PM David Cameron leaves his Notting Hill home

David Cameron this morning refused to say whether he would attend the Grenfell Tower inquiry if called upon.

It came after Michael Mansfield QC, a lawyer for the bereaved and survivors of the tragedy, yesterday said the former Tory PM should be called to answer questions at the probe into the June 2017 fire, which killed 72 people.

Mr Cameron said in 2010 how he wanted to “scrap health and safety rules that put people off”, the inquiry heard on Monday.

The following year he disparaged the “shadow” of health and safety, saying: “Britannia didn’t rule the waves with armbands on.”

Mr Mansfield said Cameron ridiculed health and safety rules “relegating citizens…to effectively a bonfire”.

Mr Cameron was being referred to by lawyers as they described more than 30 years of cover ups of the extent of the cladding crisis that led to the blaze.

But the former PM, 55, refused to say this morning whether he would attend the inquiry if called upon.

Mr Cameron refused to answer the Mirror reporter’s questions
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Image:

TIM ANDERSON)

The fire took place in June 2017
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AFP/Getty Images)

Returning red-faced from a morning spot of tennis at a local club, Mr Cameron repeatedly said “morning” to the Mirror but would not answer our questions on the inquiry or whether he would attend.

He entered his plush Notting Hill home – which lies just one mile from Grenfell Tower – and slammed the door shut.

In response to the claims made in the inquiry Mr Cameron’s spokesman said he was for “a sensible approach to health and safety [rules] to ensure they protected people and were applied where needed rather than unnecessarily overwhelm businesses with red tape”.

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He entered his plush Notting Hill home – which lies just one mile from Grenfell Tower
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Image:

TIM ANDERSON)

The previously inquiry heard how the government acknowledged that a rule against introducing new regulations for the building industry in the 2010s put it in breach of its duty to protect the right to life.

The hearing heard the government suppressed information about the combustibility of cladding used on Lakanal House after a fire killed six people in 2009 in Camberwell, south east London.

It noted the need to “avoid giving the impression that we believe all buildings of this construction (are) inherently unsafe”.

The investigation into this fire was shut down by officials in a “grotesque abdication of responsibility” which “raises the spectre of a deliberate cover up”, the inqury was told.

72 people lost their lives
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AFP/Getty Images)

After Lakanal, despite the government outwardly promising to implement the coroner’s recommendation to encourage the use of sprinklers, civil servants wrote that it was simply acting “to be able to say that DCLG is taking action”.

A senior civil servant warned in May 2017 – just a month before the Grenfell Tower fire – that “we or ministers are increasingly vulnerable to some or all of these risks becoming material and (government) being held to account for being inactive”.

The inquiry continues today.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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