Jacob Rees-Mogg has been heavily criticised for suggesting victims of the Grenfell Tower fire should have used “common sense” during the evacuation.
Discussing the inquiry report on LBC he made reference to the fire brigade’s “stay put” policy which has come under scrutiny as part of the investigation.
“The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.
“And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building.
“It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”
Crass and insensitive
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has reacted to the comments, calling for the Conservative MP to apologise for the “crass and insensitive comments immediately”.
He said: “What possesses someone to react to an entirely avoidable tragedy like Grenfell by saying the victims lacked common sense? People were terrified, many died trying to escape.”
Ahmed Chellat, 62, who lost five members of his family in the 2017 tragedy, which killed 72 people, also demanded an apology.
He told the Mirror: “He has got to apologise. Who is going to challenge this man over saying this?
“What common sense is he talking about?
People died on the stairs trying to leave
“People died on the stairs trying to leave, they couldn’t breathe.
“People needed help and directions, they tried to open doors and there was smoke everywhere. What is he (Rees Mogg) talking about?
“How is he coming to this insensitive conclusion?
“He talks about the cladding and the infrastructure – that’s fair comment.
“The firemen were not aware of how bad this fire was and what the building was made up of, the emergency callers weren’t aware, so people took instructions.
“This is the reality of it – he wasn’t there.”
How many tower blocks has he lived in?
Yvette Williams, the chair of campaign group Justice4Grenfell, said: “This is an appalling statement to make but unsurprisingly symptomatic of Rees Mogg’s ilk.
“His government failed to implement the recommendations from the Lakanall house inquiry – leaving the fire service and local authority with ‘stay put’ advice as a national policy and no full evacuation procedure.
“Rees-Mogg has a privileged background, what is his experience of living in social housing? How many tower blocks has he lived in?
“It was his government who destroyed the fire and safety regulations, it was a local authority run by his political party that cost cut and ignored residents’ concerns resulting in the Grenfell atrocity.
“To suggest that those who followed ‘his’ party’s instructions were not using ‘common sense’ is an absolute insult.
Should be ashamed
“That he thinks that this issue is nothing to do with race or class, reveals all we need to know about the upper class, Etonian, Oxbridge ‘honourable member for the 18th Century’.
“He should be ashamed of himself.”
“He does not know anything about BAME and working class communities or their life experiences and this kind of statement is evidence of that.”