UK

Frankie Boyle Tells Owen Jones Grenfell Fire Victims Were Treated As ‘Less Than Human’

'Deeply immoral.'

23/06/2017 16:33 BST | Updated 23/06/2017 16:47 BST

Comic Frankie Boyle has weighed in on the Grenfell Tower tragedy, asking “to what extent is that an accident?”

Speaking to political activist Owen Jones for The Guardian, Boyle questioned the actions of Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea Council leading up to the blaze that killed at least 79 people.

Boyle said: “If they have a council that doesn’t respond to people saying this is a fire risk, if they send legal letters threatening people who’ve said it’s a fire risk, if they deliberately choose materials... when they could have chosen other materials that weren’t flammable, if we have regulations that aren’t up to the same standards as even America or Germany or the rest of Europe, to what extent is that an accident?

“I mean to me that sounds like a contingency.”

“Some people decided that risk was affordable in the pursuit of profit. Obviously it’s deeply immoral whatever happens but that takes it to an absolute different level of immorality for me.”

It comes as Chancellor Phillip Hammond told Andrew Marr the cladding used on the tower was banned in the UK. The Tory minister also defended the Government’s actions on fire safety, claiming minsters “responded correctly” to calls for new regulations.

An inquest in 2013 into deaths in a tower block fire urged a review of building regulations because of worries over the safety of cladding.

PA Wire/PA Images
A view inside the Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning

Another inquest in the same year called for sprinklers to be retro-fitted into all high-rise structures.

Neither recommendation was adopted by the Government, with the review of regulations kicked into the long grass by former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell – now the Prime Minister’s top advisor – just eight months before the Grenfell tragedy.

Hammond insisted the public inquiry called by Theresa May would ultimately rule if the Government had done enough to prevent the blaze.

Boyle continued: “This is why I think people are so angry, they can sense from this, what they already know, which is their lives aren’t valued in the same way.

“There’s a connection between a Conservative government that wants to get rid of human rights legislation and people being treated as less than human in that building. People can make that connection for themselves.”

Scotland Yard on Friday that the fire started in a faulty fridge and that insulation and tiles on the block failed safety tests.

The Government has ordered an immediate examination by experts of the model of Hotpoint fridge freezer involved in the fire.

An announcement that police are considering manslaughter charges comes after Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said that the local failings at Grenfell should not be “brushed under the carpet.”