Parliament WILL discuss the Grenfell petition on 14th May that Stormzy shared

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Parliament have responded to the petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/206722 to ‘Call on PM to take action to build public trust in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’, by saying that this WILL be discussed on the 14th May. So that is the first step, and a bit of good news – it WILL be debated. We can watch this debate live via http://parliamentlive.tv

The full statement from Parliament was: “The Grenfell Tower fire was a truly unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened.

The Government’s highest priority remains making sure that survivors, bereaved families and the wider Grenfell community receive all the support they need.

The independent public Inquiry into the fire is an important part of the process and will help those affected get the answers they need to get to the truth of what happened.

The Prime Minister committed to considering the issue of panel members once the Chair had confirmed who had been appointed as assessors to assist the Inquiry. Section 7 of the Inquiries Act 2005 allows the Minister responsible for an inquiry to appoint further panel members during the course of an inquiry with the agreement of the Chair.

In October 2017, the Chair announced the appointment of 7 expert witnesses with backgrounds in fire safety, forensic fire analysis, fire engineering, disaster resilience and also anatomy and human identification. The expert witnesses will provide a range of technical advice and expert reports to assist the work of the Inquiry in delivering its terms of reference.

In addition, in November 2017, the Chair announced the appointment of 3 assessors with backgrounds in community engagement and social housing, local authority administration and structural engineering. The Chair also confirmed at the Inquiry’s preliminary hearing in September that he would expect the assessors to see all the evidence and sit with him when taking oral evidence. The Chair has also confirmed that he may make further appointments if needed.
Following the announcement of these appointments, the Prime Minister carefully considered the composition of the Inquiry panel in light of the diversity and expertise of advice now available to the Inquiry.

The Prime Minister wrote to the representatives of the survivors and bereaved families on 21 December 2017 and informed them of her decision not to appoint additional panel members. The Prime Minister’s decision was similarly communicated to the Inquiry on the same date.

Having regard to the terms of reference and the assistance to be provided by the assessors, and the expert witnesses, it is the Prime Minister’s view that the Inquiry panel has the necessary expertise to undertake the Inquiry as it is currently constituted. The Prime Minister is also conscious of the need for the Inquiry to complete its initial report as quickly as reasonably possible. The Prime Minister therefore considers that additional panel members should not be appointed at this stage.

In reaching this conclusion, the Prime Minister fully took into account her duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Public Sector Equality Duty – PSED).

The Government recognises the importance of ensuring that those most affected by the tragedy are able to contribute fully to the Inquiry and that is why the Prime Minister welcomes the consideration being given by Sir Martin Moore-Bick to the establishment of a community advisory panel, as proposed at the December procedural hearing.

Such a panel, similar to that which has worked well for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, could play a very beneficial role in putting those most affected at the heart of the Inquiry and enabling them to ensure that their views and experiences are heard. It is for Sir Martin, as Chair of the independent Inquiry, to take this forward, in consultation with the Grenfell Tower community, and the Government hopes that he will be able to do this as soon as possible.

In line with the Inquiry Rules 2006, legal representatives of the Grenfell community core participants will receive in advance of hearings disclosure of relevant evidence; will be able to make opening and closing statements at certain hearings and can suggest lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel to the Inquiry. They can also apply to the Chair to ask questions of a witness.

Cabinet Office”

Well done to everyone who signed this petition and to Stormzy for encouraging so many young people to sign it – it goes to show that if you use your platform for a positive change, and if we all do our bit, big things can happen. Let’s wait until the 14th May and see what happens in the debate!