Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Statement on Lakanal Fire Inquest Verdict - 28/03/13

Following the verdict on the Lakanal fire inquest, Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman today said:

“First and foremost our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of the six people who died. 

As the jury said, these tragic deaths need never and should never have happened.

The refurbishment of the building made what had been a safe building into a fire risk and no fire safety checks were carried out after the refurbishment. So a building which was home to 98 families was unsafe.

When the fire broke out, they could escape. But instead of being told to get out they were told to stay put but the fire service didn’t rescue them. And that cost them their lives.

The emergency operators didn’t listen to what the people in the flats and their relatives on the ground were saying. There needs to be a complete overhaul of fire safety inspections. We can’t have councils inspecting their own buildings and you can’t have chaos and confusion between the emergency services on the ground and the phone operators. We must work together to sort that out. 

All of us who are responsible for public services and the safety of people living in high rise buildings must accept our responsibilities and make sure that changes are made so this doesn’t happen again.

We need to apologise to the relatives for this tragic and avoidable loss of life.”


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