1. REMEMBERING GRENFELL
A year ago today, fire was still raging through Grenfell Tower in west London. To mark the exact moment the first 999 call was made, at 12.54am the scaffolded block and other high rises nearby were lit up the green colour that has come to be associated with Grenfell. Today is first and foremost about remembrance of the 72 people who died from the awful blaze. Each of their names will be read out at a service at St Clement’s Church and a national minute’s silence will be held at noon.
The green of Grenfell, the idea of local people, is meant to symbolise renewal and hope. Yet the 12 month anniversary is also a moment to take stock of the progress on rehousing and fire safety and needs of those so long neglected simply because they lived in ‘social housing’. We report today our Freedom of Information request that shows the scale of the problem of replacing outdated fire doors, with 70% of those inspected not fit for purpose. After “decades of neglect”, councils are still scrambling to replace faulty doors. One safety expert saying at least a million need replacing in the long-term.
Did Grenfell change Britain? Survivors, musicians, poets and politicians have given us their thoughts. A No.10 source told me there will be no policy announcements today or tomorrow, at the request of Grenfell groups. Sensibly, a planned update on cladding safety has been postponed, I’m told.
Downing Street and other Whitehall buildings were also lit up green last night and will again be tonight. Theresa May knows more than anyone the raw anger that followed the fire, particularly when she failed to meet local residents. I wrote at the time that that omission betrayed not just a lack of empathy but a lack of leadership. This week she herself has said she regrets that error and her aides stress lessons were swiftly learned. Yet many people still wonder how on earth the PM remained in office after those awful few days, let alone the year since. We have a long read out later this morning on how May reacted, and how she didn’t.
2. E-E ACHE
Jeremy Corbyn found out last night just how strongly many of his MPs feel about a ‘hard Brexit’. As the Commons voted on a Lords amendment calling for UK membership …