Grenfell Tower inquiry chief hails 'useful and powerful' meeting with residents

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The former judge leading the Grenfell Tower inquiry said a meeting with residents was "very useful and powerful", despite concerns from the floor about the make-up of his team.

In the meeting between retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick and those affected by the devastating blaze on June 14, residents repeated their desire that the inquiry team should better reflect the "diversity" of those on the west London estate.

At least 80 people died after the fire ripped through the 24-storey tower block in north Kensington, with many of those affected being from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds.

A crowd of around 50 residents and supporters attended the meeting in White City on Thursday evening, after survivors were given a further week to make their case about which issues the forthcoming public inquiry should consider.

The consultation on the terms of reference for the probe has been further extended to August 4, the inquiry team said.

Sir Martin is expected to set out his recommendations on the investigation's scope to Prime Minister Theresa May shortly after the end of the consultation period.

An inquiry spokesman said: "Sir Martin found it (the meeting) a very useful and powerful experience; there are clearly lots of strong emotions but everyone was very respectful of each other.

"There were voices raised in speeches but they were not shouting over each other. It was a very passionate but respectful meeting.

"There were views expressed of the make-up of the inquiry team; some people saying there should be more representatives of the community, more minorities, and more representation of all its diversity.

"The chairman has said he's got an open mind on that."

At present the inquiry team comprises the chairman and a team of advisers and lawyers, rather than a formal panel as desired by some residents.

The meeting came after Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey confirmed that experts involved in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attack had been brought in to help provide specialist knowledge.

He said the 200 officers involved in the investigation faced sifting through 15 tonnes of debris on each of the building's floors in an effort to identify remains.

Residents were this week told that work to cover the burnt-out shell of Grenfell Tower - seen as a gruesome open grave by many, and a painful totem of the tragedy by others - should be completed before the end of the year.