Walk out at Grenfell evidence session over minister’s ‘lies’

Police & fire service minister Nick Hurd offends over use of the word “victims” and faces calls to resign

Grenfell protest - Justice for Grenfell

Grenfell campaigners walked out of a Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee evidence session on Grenfell today (July 18) in protest at a minister’s “lies”.

Activists left a hearing as police & fire service minister Nick Hurd gave evidence to MPs this morning.

The Committee was questioning Hurd, as the minister responsible, over the Government’s role in providing support to those affected by the disaster.

Now, Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad MP has called on Hurd to resign after he admitted to “zero trust, at best” between “victims” and the Government.

Survivors present at the session hit out at Hurd’s use of the word “victims” shouting: “The victims are dead.”

Hurd struggled to insist he hadn’t meant to cause offence claiming he used the word victims in the context of a “disaster that shouldn’t have happened.”

Asked if he would accept that he and the Government must “improve in trying to reach out to communities and genuinely engage with them”, Hurd said he had tried to “reach out to individual families” and has “been present in many meetings”.

At this a woman interjected to say “this is not correct” and that she couldn’t have to “sit here and listen to lies”.

The meeting saw Hurd and Jillian Kay, Director for Grenfell Recovery and Resilience, being scrutinised for their level of local support following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Emma Dent Coad, the MP for Kensington, tweeted that “bereaved families” had walked out “in disgust” following Hurd’s comments adding that 13 months on and this government is still getting it all wrong” and that Hurd should therefore “resign”.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed detectives investigating the Grenfell disaster have conducted three interviews under caution over potential offences – including manslaughter.

“The police investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire has moved to a new phase with a planned programme of interviews under caution,” Scotland Yard said in a statement, adding that more interviews would take place in the coming weeks.

The interviews, carried out since late June, came as detectives investigated possible charges of gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and breaches of the Health and Safety Act relating to the fire last summer that killed 72 people.

The Met would not confirm whether three separate suspects had been interviewed, or whether the same suspect had been interviewed more than once.

No one has been arrested for offences relating to the fire itself.

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