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May's policies to blame for London block fire: Corbyn

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo by AFP)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that Prime Minister Theresa May and her government should be held into account for the tower block fire in London.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Wednesday, Corbyn said budget cuts and inaction on part of the government might have led to the blaze that killed 12 people and injured dozens more in the 24-story Grenfell Tower earlier in the day.

 “If you deny local authorities the funding they need, then there is a price that’s paid," the main opposition leader argued.

“I believe we need to ask questions about what facilities and resources have been given to local authorities that have tower blocs in the area and, frankly, most do. We need to deal with this –we need people to be safe living in high rise buildings,” he added.

He also called for an investigation into reports that Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister who was recently appointed as the Prime Minister’s adviser, had failed to OK a fire safety review request he had received.

The remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Former chief fire officer Ronnie King, the fire expert who had filed the request told the media that he had talked to Barwell about it earlier this year to no avail.

Barwell had told him that he would consider the request in meeting but the promise was lost after May called for a snap general election in mid-April.

“Obviously ministers that served and received those reports must be questioned,” Corbyn noted.

At least 45 fire engines, some 200 firefighters and 20 ambulances were sent to the building which has 120 flats and was built in 1974, but recently underwent a major refurbishment, according to the fire brigade.

London police has announced that the death toll is expected to rise with over a dozen patients in critical condition.

May promised a "proper investigation" after the incident, saying that if any lessons are to be learned they will be, and "action will be taken."

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