A black British politician has criticized the decision to appoint a ‘white upper middle class man’ to lead the inquiry into last month’s tower block fire in London in which at least 80 people were killed.
David Lammy (pictured), an MP for the left-wing Labour Party, said retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick is the wrong person to conduct the investigation into the Grenfell Tower disaster.
He said it is ‘a shame’ that the government could not find a woman or someone from an ethnic minority to run the investigation adding that survivors and those who lost loved ones in the tragedy will wonder ‘whose side will he be on?’
He didn’t explain why a non-white person would be better qualified to lead the inquiry.
Over the weekend, Lammy told Sky News’: ‘Look, politicians have to always be careful of being in a critical place in relation to the judiciary, but he is a white upper middle class man who I suspect has never, ever visited a tower block housing estate and certainly hasn’t slept a night on the 20th floor of one. I hope he will do that in the days ahead.’
He added: ‘It’s a shame that we couldn’t find a woman to lead the inquiry or indeed an ethnic minority to lead the inquiry in 2017, and I think the victims will also say to themselves, when push comes to shove there are some powerful people here – contractors, sub-contractors, local authorities, governments – and they look like this judge. So he needs to get close to those victims and survivors very, very quickly and establish that he is after the truth and that he’s fearless and independent and he won’t be swayed because he too is part of the establishment.’
An inquiry spokesman said: ‘The aim is to have (the terms of reference) done before Parliament rises on the 20th.’
Sir Martin met survivors on his first day in the job and will hold further meetings with other groups in the next week.
The final death toll is believed to be higher than 80. However, this has not been confirmed because there are theories that many occupants of the publicly-funded tower block sublet their apartments illegally, making it difficult to know how many people were living there.