Robert Jenrick was forced to silence as he failed to acknowledge whether the government was doing enough to safeguard those at risk of fire in tower blocks during a debate last night (21st November).
The clash came during the BBC’s Question Time as the topic turned to the recent fire in a university accommodation block in Bolton.
A question from the studio audience pressed Jenrick on whether “enough was being done” by the government to prevent fires such as the one in Bolton due to unsafe cladding.
Seemingly avoiding the question, the Jenrick praised the fire and rescue services for their handling of the fire, as well as the students living there.
He said: “I came up the next day with the Prime Minister, he met the fire and rescue service.
“I later in the evening met students in the University and it’s also worth saying they were absolutely amazing.”
As reported by 24housing, the cladding crisis is front and centre of election campaigning, with the government accused of downplaying risks posed by high-pressure laminate (HPL) panels linked to the blaze that ripped through a student block in Bolton.
During last night’s discussions, Jenrick admitted that he “didn’t know” how many buildings have similar cladding to the Bolton block.
He continued to say that a review has been commissioned and dangerous cladding has been banned.
Reiterating the original question, host Fiona Bruce pushed Jenrick on an answer to whether the government have done enough.
He continued describing his meeting with the students, claiming many of them were “shellshocked” over the fire.
The discussion was promptly brought to a close, with Bruce calling time on Jenrick’s response.