Grenfell Tower inquiry will consider residents' fire safety warnings

Updated: 

The retired judge leading the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is prepared to consider the "broad" causes of the fire amid concern from survivors' groups over its scope and leadership.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick previously indicated his investigation would be limited to the causes of the deadly fire, why it spread so quickly and how it could be prevented in future.

But survivors suggested they were prepared to abandon the process unless the parameters were broadened to consider systemic issues, such as why residents' concerns about fire safety were allegedly ignored by authorities.

A source said the former Court of Appeal judge was looking to scrutinise issues tracing back to building regulations at the time the block was erected.

"He is very happy to look at why there were warnings that weren't listened to, these were the allegations," the source said.

It is understood the inquiry into the blaze, which killed at least 80 people, will be a "broad interpretation of what caused the fire", which extends beyond the "physics of what happened".

Sir Martin's appointment has been met met with concern by survivors, with a group called BME (black and minority ethnic) Lawyers 4 Grenfell writing to Prime Minister Theresa May to say her choice was "astonishing".

The open letter, signed by the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers Peter Herbert and the president of the Association of Muslim Lawyers Ismet Rawat, said: "Your lack of consultation has increased the mistrust of both the Grenfell community and the wider community and led to firm opposition of the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick."

And Sue Caro, a co-ordinator for the Justice 4 Grenfell group that represents survivors, said: "Our view is the whole thing needs to start again - there is no confidence in the process."

Meanwhile, the nominee to lead the embattled council handling the Grenfell Tower fire fallout is expected to pick her cabinet on Tuesday after promising "change" moments after her selection by the local Conservative party. 

The Tory group on Kensington and Chelsea Council nominated Elizabeth Campbell to take over from Nicholas Paget-Brown, who resigned on Friday amid fierce criticism of the council's response to the Grenfell tragedy.

In her first public statement, Mrs Campbell said she was "truly sorry" and pledged to "heal the wounds" in the community.

"The first thing I want to do is I want to apologise," she said.

"This is our community and we have failed it when people needed us the most.

"So, no buts, no ifs, no excuses - I am truly sorry."

She continued: "As new leader, I will appoint a new cabinet tomorrow and things are going to change."

Mrs Campbell, who quit as a long-standing member of the council's cabinet in May, said she would ask Communities Secretary Sajid Javid for help.

Mrs Campbell must be formally elected by a meeting of the full council and a spokesman for the authority said the next scheduled meeting was on July 19, although an emergency one could be called earlier.

One Tory councillor, who did not want to be named, said her election was a "formality" and Mrs Campbell was now leader of the council "in practice".

Ms Caro said she had no confidence in the leadership of the council and called for it to be dissolved.

She said: "It's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

"They have shown they are not fit to run a council or deliver the services that are needed and I don't really think it matters who is the leader."