Harriet Harman

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

The Fire at Lakanal House, Camberwell

It is such an absolute tragedy, that lives were lost and that people have lost their homes. People rushed out without anything and their whole flat and all their possessions are gone. We have to make sure that people find permanent homes and they are looked after. We must find answers very quickly - for the sake of the relatives who have lost loved ones but also for the sake of people in the twin block which is called Marie Curie which is an identical block to Lakanal.

We know the fire spread, we know that people were trapped and we also know that six people died - we’ve got to make sure that the people in the twin block are safe.

And also we must make sure that the advice is consistent. What is the advice? Is it to stay in your flat if there is a fire, or is it to try and make your way to the staircase or is it to go onto the balcony? For the residents who are still there that advice has got to be given and that is why I am pleased Sir Ken Knight, the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor, is attending a meeting on at Marie Curie House this evening to make sure everyone is clear that the block which is still there is safe and that residents know what to do should there be a terrible event happen again.

There are some blocks where, because it is assumed that fire cannot spread internally, you are advised to stay put in your flat. That has simply got to be sorted out, so everybody is clear they know what to do.

I think it is terrible and we really have got to make sure people who are displaced are properly settled and helped and supported and also for those who are fearfully looking on from neighbouring blocks they are reassured.

We need an update on the fire safety certificate and updated advice for all those tenants and that needs to happen today.

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