POLITICS

Labour MP Says Grenfell Tragedy 'Shows System Is Broken' In Maiden Speech

Ellie Reeves told the Commons she is 'haunted' by stories of blaze.

14/07/2017 13:45 BST

A new Labour MP used her maiden speech to say the Grenfell tragedy shows that ‘the system is broken’.

Ellie Reeves, who replaced veteran member Jim Dowd in Lewisham West and Penge, told the Commons she had entered politics to tackle inequality and ensure people had equal chances in life no matter what their background.

Speaking about last month’s blaze, which claimed the lives of more than 80 people, Reeves said the: “The enormous loss of life at Grenfell and the preventable tragedy of what happened there has cast a shadow over the first few weeks of this Parliament.

“Hearing stories of the events that night, it was hard to hold back tears.  

“The unimaginable horror of a mother throwing her baby from a 10th floor window still haunts me.

 “The inquiry must now happen quickly, transparently and with the full inclusion of the victims.

Hannah Mckay / Reuters

 “But what seems clear to me is that what happened there, and in the aftermath, is symptomatic of a system that is broken.  

“A system that neglects the poor and vulnerable.  A system where cost-effectiveness seems to have been put before health and safety, and a system that I have come into this place to change.”

Emergency service chiefs have warned they will probably never know the full extent of the loss of life inside the tower block and residents told HuffPost UK earlier this week they felt let down by the authorities.

Reeves, sister of former shadow cabinet minister and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, also used her first address to pay tribute to her predecessor, who stood down at the end of the last Parliament, and to talk about struggling schools.

“Growing up in the 80s and 90s, we had lessons in huts, class sizes of 35 and not enough books to go around,” she said.

“As the daughter of two teachers, I knew teachers were undervalued and underpaid.

“It was my experiences growing up that made me want to stand up and fight to end inequality, and make sure every child gets the best chance in life, no matter what their wealth or background.”