Grenfell Tower Inquiry Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Excerpts
Wednesday 30th October 2019

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Grahame Morris Portrait Grahame Morris (Easington) (Lab) - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 1:43 p.m.

rose—

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con) - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 1:43 p.m.

rose—

The Prime Minister - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 1:43 p.m.

If I may, I will continue, as it will be important for the House to hear the whole context in which these criticisms and points are being made.

The so-called “stay put” policy is the bedrock on which all plans for fighting fires in tall residential buildings are based. Building regulations are supposed to mean that fires cannot spread beyond individual flats, because they are compartmented. When that is the case, it is indeed safest for most residents to stay in their homes until the fire is extinguished, but at Grenfell that was not the case. The fire spread widely and rapidly, up, down and across the tower.

Break in Debate

The Prime Minister - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 1:48 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is making an important point, as the whole House knows. As I said at the outset, that is among the issues that will be addressed in the second part of Sir Martin’s report, but I will say a little bit about it later on. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise that issue.

While brave firefighters led many people to safety from inside the tower, Sir Martin concludes that the chaos and confusion meant that some calls for help were not responded to until it was too late.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 1:49 p.m.

I have visited Grenfell Tower twice to sympathise with the relatives, but I have also been able to see at first hand how firefighters in these complex situations risk their lives. I had a meeting only yesterday at the Fire Service College in my constituency, which provides worldwide training for every type of fire officer. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we owe it to our firefighters up and down this country to enable them to have the very best training?

The Prime Minister - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. I am well aware that he has a centre for the training of firefighters at Moreton-in-Marsh in his constituency. Directly on his point, Sir Martin cautions all of us against making judgments at a distance, and I agree with him wholeheartedly on that.

It is very easy for us on these green Benches to have 20:20 hindsight. We are not about to run into the heart of a fire that is blazing more than 200 feet into the night sky.