We need a functioning government and parliament to respond to the Grenfell Tower tragedy

Parliament cannot meet to discuss the tragedy until after the Queen's Speech


The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower last night raises strings of vitally important questions.

Why weren’t the residents’ repeated warnings about the building’s safety heeded by their landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation? Did austerity cuts to London’s fire service impact the response? Why was a scheduled review of tower block fire safety delayed by the government? Did Commons votes against increased protection for tenants contribute to the poor upkeep of Grenfell Tower? And crucially, what risk is there that an event like this will be repeated elsewhere?

Right now, these are open questions. An official inquiry into the tragedy is surely inevitable, and its remit should be very broad — encompassing the impact of housing legislation, low levels of regulation of the housing market, and the privatisation of social housing management.

These questions are invariably political, so those who ask them are not ‘politicising tragedy’.  While we may not yet have enough information to make partisan accusations, asking tough questions about government decisions is a civic and political necessity after events like these. Unfortunately, the continued chaos within the Conservative Party prevents those questions being asked in the House of Commons, and prevents the government’s response from being subjected to due scrutiny.

Speaker John Bercow has clarified today that the issue cannot be discussed in parliament until after the Queen’s Speech has been delivered, and the prime minister cannot or will not reveal when the Queen’s Speech is likely to be. Therefore, as Labour MP Chris Bryant points out, it could be up to two weeks before answers are demanded of the government.

Britain has been repeatedly struck by disaster in the weeks since Theresa May called her unnecessary and destabilising election. In the face of terrorist attacks and now a devastating fire, the Conservatives have not been subject to any parliamentary scrutiny. This cannot go on. To state the overwhelmingly obvious, the country needs governance.

Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

5 Responses to “We need a functioning government and parliament to respond to the Grenfell Tower tragedy”

  1. Alex from Carlisle

    RIP. On a positive note, no one will have to pay for their cremation.

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    We need a functioning government and parliament to respond to the Grenfell Tower tragedy

    Why? Will other buildings scent weakness if the government does not immediately look like its doing something, and set themselves on fire? Perhaps we need a government that will shut up until an inquiry has established some actual facts.

  3. Anon

    It was a Labour government that handed our council housing over to private management – for reasons of cost I presume.

    It was a Labour government that was wholly in agreement with the European Union’s view that council contracts had to be tendered EU-wide. The cheapest tender won the contract, I presume.

    It was a Labour government that allowed the free flow of cheap labour, with no checks or balances regarding the contractors carrying out these works, I would sarcastically presume.

    It is Labour councillors on our councils who have considerable property interests – for profit, I presume.

    It was a Labour government who’s MPs, MEPs, and councillors have created a social chasm between the governance of, and the governed on, our housing estates.
    If the people who lived in those properties were those who worked on them, there would have been a direct line of communication when concerns were raised. Mercenaries don’t tend to care for the carnage they leave behind.

    But if we create a conditioned people to be subservient and reliant on our leaders, and our leaders turn out to be an incompetent bunch of braindead apparatchiks, with no real life experience of industry – we must expect these things to happen again in the future.

    Get off your sanctimonious high horse – ALL levels and ALL colours of government must take responsibility; that’s what they are bloody well paid for.

  4. Tom Wintringham

    Arrest the Queen on a charge of mass manslaughter!
    Arrest Prince William and the royal family as the Queen’s accomplices, partners in crime!

    “Corporate manslaughter” – agreed and well said David Lammy MP!
    But the guilty corporations include THE CROWN corporation.The kingdom itself has committed manslaughter.Her Majesty’s Government itself has committed manslaughter.

    “arrests must be made” – agreed and well said again David Lammy MP! (I am beginning to like this guy! LOL)

    The Queen must be arrested.The Prime Minister must be arrested.
    How can this be done? How can we, the people, arrest the kingdom’s officials who are the government who do the arresting, prosecuting and jailing of criminals?

    We can make a start by never again singing “God Save THE QUEEN”.We should be singing “God Save THE PEOPLE”.
    The whole focus of this United Kingdom is saving the Queen, making sure she and HER family don’t burn to death in a house fire.
    The rest of us are EXPENDABLE and many are forced to live in DEATH TRAPS.

    The exterior of Grenfell Tower was originally concrete which doesn’t burn.
    Then some idiot official decided to copy the dangerous fashion of cladding the building with polyethylene cored cosmetic cladding, which is very combustible, which constitutes a very dangerous fire hazard.

    Now the same money that was spent turning the outside of the tower into a bonfire waiting to be lit could more competently have been spent on water sprinklers inside the building, leaving the exterior in the original concrete.
    So it is not all to do with “the money” but as much or more to do with the incompetent way money is spent and the inability of public safety campaigners to campaign in freedom, not being allowed to protest against such incompetence because our protests are arrested by the fascist police state.

    In this kingdom, any public safety campaigner can be subject to arrest, imprisonment, being sacked, having benefits sanctioned, being sectioned in a mental hospital, being left destitute and dying from the cold sleeping rough.

    There is no rule of law, only rule by the Queen’s courts and police who impose a fascist dictatorship which arrests and punishes anyone doing their duty to protest against dangerous official decisions.

    It’s time to ARREST THE QUEEN, overthrow the kingdom and establish a republic where we can elect a president who will SAVE THE PEOPLE!

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