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Grenfell Tower inquiry postponed due to coronavirus crisis

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)
The Grenfell Tower fire tragedy exposed institutionalized racism in how social housing is allocated and managed in London

The restrictions and chaos brought about by the coronavirus crisis has caused a further delay to the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

The inquiry panel has indicated that proceedings will not now resume until July at the earliest.

The second phase of the inquiry was halted in March after the coronavirus pandemic swept across the UK.

The Grenfell Tower fire tragedy on June 14, 2017, which claimed 72 lives, is regarded as the UK’s worst residential fire since the Second World War.

Following the tragedy a scandal erupted after it became clear most of the dead were from ethnic minority groups.

To compound the scandal it was revealed that the building suffered from multiple structural defects, notably unsuitable cladding which enabled the fire to spread rapidly.

The second phase of the inquiry began on January 27 but it quickly descended into chaos as the firms involved in the refurbishment of the building requested immunity from prosecution as a condition for their cooperation.

In addition to the two firms in question – cladding company Harley Facades and the building contractor Ryon –the Chelsea Tenant Management Organization also requested immunity from the then attorney general, Geoffrey Cox.

The request for immunity from prosecution was being considered by the inquiry chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, before the coronavirus pandemic brought a crashing halt to the proceedings.


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