Grenfell victims have accused their MP of “meaningless platitudes” and “abandoning” them after she voted against implementing recommendations made by the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry.
Grenfell United believe “those in power are not with us” after MPs voted by more than a 100 majority to reject Labour’s attempt to ensure extra checks on materials used on buildings.
Felicity Buchan, Conservative member for Kensington, was one of 318 MPs who turned down the opposition’s amendment to the Fire Safety Bill which passed the Commons on Monday.
“You didn’t even talk to us before this vote”
In a letter published on Wednesday, the victims and survivors group told Ms Buchan: “This week in the Commons you had a chance to show you stood with our community and you didn’t take it.
“Regardless of playing politics, your single vote in favour may not have swayed the final result, but would have really laid down a marker for your intentions in supporting real change, not only for the Grenfell community, but for the whole country.
“Instead you abandoned us.
“You didn’t even talk to us before this vote.”
I am very focussed on ensuring that Fire & Building Safety Laws are enacted as soon as possible. The reason I voted against the Labour amendment was because it did not speed up the process but risked slowing it by potentially requiring a new consultation on the Fire Safety Order.— Felicity Buchan MP (@FelicityBuchan) September 9, 2020
The group accused the MP of doing “nothing to speak out on this, all we get is meaningless platitudes.”
“You have displayed the exact reason Grenfell was allowed to happen, which is people’s lives do not matter as much as individual’s self interests.”
The Fire Safety Bill was drafted following the devastating fire at a west London tower block in 2017 which claimed the lives of 72 people.
The Grenfell Inquiry’s phase one report, published in October 2019, found the tower’s cladding did not comply with building regulations and was the “principal” reason for the fire’s rapid spread.
If it had been accepted, the Labour amendment would have required owners or managers of flats to share information with their local fire service about the design and materials of the external walls.
They would also have been required to carry out regular inspections of lifts and individual flat entrance doors, while evacuation and fire safety instructions must be shared with residents of the building.
“Wilfully politicising” the tragedy
Ms Buchan has accused Labour of “wilfully politicising” the tragedy and said that she is “absolutely committed to implementing the first phase recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry”.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Ms Buchan said: “I am very focused on ensuring that Fire & Building Safety Laws are enacted as soon as possible.
“The reason I voted against the Labour amendment was because it did not speed up the process but risked slowing it by potentially requiring a new consultation on the Fire Safety Order.”