After Grenfell disaster: sack Gavin Barnwell, ex minister of housing and now chief of staff of May

Former Fire Minister Jim Fitzpatrick On Grenfell Tower Fire: ‘Finger Is Pointing at Government” over the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London. Fire minister Nick Hurd has now ordered an urgent assessment of all refurbishments similar to that in Grenfell Tower.

Fitzpatrick’s words came as police revealed that the death toll from the devastating London blaze had risen to 12, with scores of people critically ill in hospital.

A previous fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, that had claimed six lives in 2009, had been followed by a coroner’s request in 2013 for a thorough review of building safety regulations.

But when pressed in the Commons last October on the lack of progress, then housing minister Gavin Barwell – now Theresa May’s chief of staff – said the Government was still looking at the issue.

"We have not set out any formal plans to review the building regulations as a whole, but we have publicly committed ourselves to reviewing part B [of building regulations] following the Lakanal House fire."

That document, which is called Approved Document B, has not been reviewed for over 20 years. You’ve only got to look at the London skyline to see new buildings, new design, new materials being used. The building regulations have got to keep up with those developments.

"One of the recommendations from the Lakanal House fire from the coroner was that the Government should carry out a review of Approved Document B. For four years, the Government has been telling us, "yeah, yeah, we’ll do it". They haven’t told us when it’s being started, they haven’t told us when it’s going to finish, they haven’t shown any recommendations from it.

Fitzpatrick added: "If this building was being constructed today, it would need far greater fire protection and because of its height and its residential risk it would need fire sprinkler systems fitted. Because it was built in 1974 that’s not a requirement. I’m concerned by the residents saying for instance the emergency lighting wasn’t working properly, the alarms clearly didn’t go off in parts of the building. That worries me even more because that’s part of the regulations already."

Sign now to tell Theresa May to sack Gavin Barwell, the ex-housing minister who sat on the fire safety report for the year he was in office.
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