A shocking article by The Times has claimed that WSP, engineering company, was warned not to create “adverse publicity” about the Cabinet Office or other Crown bodies (this includes May’s office)
The Times said WSP experts were hired after the Grenfell Tower tragedy on 14 June last year, which killed 72 people.
The contract reportedly stated WSP should ensure that neither it nor anyone working for it should “embarrass” or be “in any way connected to material adverse publicity” relating to the Cabinet Office or other Crown bodies.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the revelation of the terms of the contract was “shameful”.
“To save face the government places gagging orders on experts trying to get to the truth of the Grenfell Tower fire,” she tweeted.
Fellow Labour MP David Lammy accused Mrs May of “unforgivable cowardice”, adding: “If you respected the 72 that died, you would have let firms follow the truth wherever it led.”
.@theresa_may, why did you gag firms and charities from criticising you in these investigations that followed Grenfell fire?
This shows unforgivable cowardice. If you respected the 72 that died, you would have let firms follow the truth wherever it led.https://t.co/Y2RYDY1zkk
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 6, 2018
A spokesperson said: “Standard contracts in the public and the private sector contain provisions to protect the commercial interests of government and its suppliers in a reasonable way.
“These contracts do not prevent individuals from campaigning on specific issues, acting as whistleblowers or raising concerns about policy.”
A spokesman for WSP said: “We helped the Cabinet Office’s government property unit understand which types of cladding used across the UK government’s estate are unlikely to comply with building regulations so that the tragedy at Grenfell doesn’t ever happen again.”