Grenfell Tower survivors and relatives of those who died slammed Theresa May and the Tories’ response to the tower block fire on Monday.
They protested outside parliament in the afternoon ahead of an MPs’ debate. It had been forced by a petition demanding a representative panel be added to the public inquiry into the immediate causes of the fire.
“If it wasn't for everyone here, this day would never have happened,” survivor Bilal told the 1,000-strong monthly Silent Walk for Grenfell later in the evening.
May announced last week that there would be two “expert advisers” to the inquiry, a move she previously refused. Her step-down shows the Tories are under pressure—and that now is the time to push for more.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott joined the protest outside parliament in solidarity. “Announcing there's going to be two panel members is not enough,” she argued. “Who are they going to be?
“If they just have puppets on the panel that is not enough.”
May made her concession after meeting bereaved families.
Clarrie Mendy, who lost family in the fire, spoke to May for 15 minutes. “Two is definitely not enough,” she told Socialist Worker. “We need experts from social housing and the fire service. Minimum.
“This could all have been prevented if the recommendations from the Lakanal House fire inquiry had been implemented.”
“I'm tired of begging for change,” she added.
Labour MP Laura Pidcock agreed with Clarrie about the inquiry. She told Socialist Worker it’s a “disgrace survivors had to initiate a petition and expend energy fighting to get two people”.
“It's a start, but it's certainly not enough,” she said.
The Grenfell Tower victims victims died because they were poor, black and working class. And as the one year anniversary of the fire on 14 June approaches, the Tories continue to treat survivors with the same contempt.
Just one third of Grenfell households have been rehoused and some 64 remain in temporary accommodation.
Moyra Samuels from the Justice4Grenfell campaign said, “We are no longer going to stay quiet and ask nicely.
“Let's make noise on the anniversary to remind this government we are not going away.”
Protests have been called on Saturday 16 June in addition to the monthly Silent Walk in north Kensington on the anniversary.
Bilal summed it up people’s determination to fight for justice. “We got burned out of that building,” he said. “We lost family, whole families were lost. Until we start seeing people punished for what they have done, the fight is not over.”