UK

Theresa May Invites Grenfell Tower Fire Survivors To Downing Street As Fury Mounts

After fleeing community event on Friday.

17/06/2017 12:24 BST | Updated 17/06/2017 12:29 BST
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A banner reading ' justice for Grenfell' is pictured hanging from the balcony of a property near the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington on Saturday

Theresa May has sought to quell anger over the Grenfell Tower disaster by inviting survivors to Downing Street - after the embattled PM was forced to flee crowds of furious residents on Friday.

Residents and volunteers will attend a private session at No 10 on Saturday, it was reported, after intense criticism of May’s approach in the aftermath of the blaze, which claimed at least 30 lives and injured dozens more.

Residents of the destroyed tower said May was far too slow to visit the stricken community, that the building had been unsafe and that officials have failed to give enough information and support to those who have lost relatives and their homes.

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Theresa May had been criticised for keeping away from locals during an initial visit to Grenfell Tower. Pictured here on Thursday meeting fire officials
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May then met Grenfell survivors on Friday at a local church in North Kensington, but was forced to flee a swelling crowd of angered locals

Dodged questions

Asked repeatedly whether she had misread the public mood, May did not answer directly but said the focus was on providing support to the victims.

“What I’m now absolutely focused on is ensuring that we get that support on the ground,” May said in a BBC Newsnight interview.

“Government is making money available, we’re ensuring that we’re going to get to the bottom of what’s happened, we will ensure that people are rehoused. But we need to make sure that that actually happens.”

May on Saturday was due to chair a meeting on the government’s response to the fire. The death toll is expected to rise, as at least 60 people remain unaccounted for.

Alongside both police and fire investigations into the blaze, she has promised to set up a public inquiry, Reuters news agency reported.

5 million pledge

She also pledged 5 million pounds of support, housing guarantees and help with access to bank accounts and cash. Those who lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks, she said.

One of her closest allies, Damian Green, defended May on Saturday, adding that a team would go to the area to answer questions from residents.

“The Prime Minister is distraught about what has happened,” said Green, who was appointed May’s deputy in the wake of the general election.

“We’re all desperately sad, we’re all angry, but of course none of us as angry as those who were directly affected. I absolutely get why they’re angry,” Green said.