Wednesday 22 November 2017

Sadiq Khan: Anger over Grenfell Tower fire follows 'years of neglect'

Protesters march towards The Grenfell Tower block that was destroyed by fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Protesters march towards The Grenfell Tower block that was destroyed by fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Aine Fox

Anger in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire comes after "years of neglect" by council and Government, London's mayor said, adding that stories of grief and heroism from the blaze will stay with him forever.

Sadiq Khan spent more than two hours at St Clement's Church in west London on Sunday, as a service remembered victims of the disaster.

He said it was "humbling" to attend before meeting with many members of the congregation as well as other people who turned up to speak to him.

Vowing to be the "champion of the people", he said lessons must be learned from the tragedy, which is feared to have claimed the lives of at least 58 people.

Speaking outside after the service, which he attended with his wife Saadiya, he said people are "angry not simply at the poor response in the days afterwards from the council and the Government, but the years of neglect from the council and successive governments".

He described a feeling among people that they have been treated badly and not understood by the council because some of them are "poor, some may come from deprived backgrounds, some may be asylum seekers and refugees".

Families who have lost their homes must be supported, grieving people must be helped and it must not be "so hard" for those who need help to find it, he said.

He added: "As the mayor of London, I will do my bit to be the advocate, to be the fighter, and to be the champion of these people."

Read More: Grenfell Tower cladding is banned in the UK, Chancellor reveals

Criticising those who may think there are too many rules and regulations, he called on them to "remember those who have lost their lives in a preventable accident that didn't need to happen, and the tragedy we're seeing is because of the consequences of mistakes and neglect from politicians from the council and from the Government."

Of his experience at the church, he said: "I've spent time with the local community, not just the Christian congregation, but members of all faiths here at the church, grieving, sharing their stories.

"And I've got to say some of the stories that I've heard will stay with me forever.

Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

"I've heard stories of heroism, from Christians, from Muslims and from others, looking after their brothers and sisters, their neighbours and doing the job that we expect from this brilliant community because of the fantastic community that is here in this part of London."

Flowers and missing people posters are taped to the gates of the church, which has been used as a relief centre in the wake of the blaze, while bags of donations including nappies and clothes are piled outside the door.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News