A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
League One side AFC Wimbledon have appointed caretaker boss Glyn Hodges as their new permanent manager.
The ex-Wales midfielder, 56, has been in charge since Wally Downes was suspended by the club last month, after being charged by the Football Association over bets placed on games.
Downes left Wimbledon on Sunday, two days after being given a four-week FA suspension for admitting the charge.
Former Wimbledon player Hodges had been assistant to Downes at Kingsmeadow.
More to follow.
One of Jodie Chesney’s alleged killers has been accused of throwing his business partner “under the bus” over the teenager’s death.
Drug dealer Manuel Petrovic drove Svenson Ong-a-Kwie and two youths to the park where Jodie was fatally stabbed on 1 March.
Mr Petrovic denied he was trying to “rewrite the truth”.
He, along with Mr Ong-a-Kwie and two youths, aged 16 and 17, deny murder and are on trial at the Old Bailey.
Cross-examining Mr Petrovic, Mr Ong-a-Kwie’s lawyer accused him of distancing himself from his co-accused.
Charles Sherrard QC said: “What I suggest is that you have, from the minute you were arrested, decided your best tactic is to present yourself as a particular type of person – somebody who is too nice, the older brother type, and wherever possible, distanced yourself from Svenson.”
Mr Petrovic replied: “That’s not correct.”
Mr Sherrard continued: “And in distancing yourself you have chosen to rewrite the truth and metaphorically throw him under the bus.”
The 20-year-old repeated: “That’s not correct.”
Mr Sherrard asserted that it was Mr Petrovic that 19-year-old Mr Ong-a-Kwie turned to when he needed a lift to Harold Hill on the night of 1 March.
He turned to him again when he needed fresh clothes and trusted him with a “drug line”, it was claimed.
But Mr Petrovic told jurors: “It was more business associates than friends but I would not not class him as a friend.”
Asked why he picked up Ong-a-Kwie on 1 March, leaving customers waiting, he said: “It’s not out of the blue, he would help me out on occasions so I would try to help him out too.”
The Old Bailey trial continues.
Boris Johnson is expected to comply with a London Assembly order to explain his links to a US businesswoman.
Len Duvall, chairman of City Hall’s oversight committee, said: “We are going to have something this evening from Downing Street.”
The PM is facing questions about his friendship with Jennifer Arcuri when he was London mayor.
He has been accused of failing to declare a conflict of interest, but has said he acted properly at all times.
Mr Johnson had been given until Tuesday to provide details of contacts with Ms Arcuri.
Mr Duvall said: “We have had some fun and games today arguing about when is the deadline, but we finally have an announcement that they are going to comply, and we are going to get something this evening from Downing Street. I hope it is comprehensive and I hope it provides answers.
“The allegations are serious, I hope the prime minister is treating them seriously.”
He said the assembly’s powers to take action against Mr Johnson, if he was found to have breached its code of conduct, were limited because he was no longer mayor of London.
But it could still summon the prime minister to appear before the oversight committee to answer further questions about his contacts with Ms Arcuri.
Leyton Orient and Port Vale have been charged by the Football Association after an on-pitch melee on Saturday.
The 64th-minute incident was sparked when Vale defender James Gibbons reacted after Orient striker Conor Wilkinson went down in the box.
Both clubs have been charged with failing to ensure players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour.
They have until 18:00 BST on 4 October 2019 to respond.
Three players were booked after around a dozen players came together, and the match ended in a 3-3 draw after Josh Wright’s stoppage-time goal for Orient.
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day two):|
|Surrey 248-2: Borthwick 109*, Pope 79*; Coughlin 2-39|
|Nottinghamshire: Yet to bat|
|Surrey 1 pt, Notts 0 pts|
Just 12 balls were possible on day two of Surrey’s County Championship match against Nottinghamshire as rain affected proceedings.
After rain for most of the morning and an early tea, play began at 15:45 BST with 36 overs scheduled in the day.
Surrey took a leg bye off the first over of the day from Jake Ball, then Ollie Pope scored a single off Matthew Carter to take the hosts to 248-2.
Rain then returned, forcing the sides off after less than 15 minutes’ play.
Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell earned West Ham their second successive home win against Manchester United, who lost striker Marcus Rashford through injury in the second half.
Yarmolenko opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, sending a low finish past David de Gea following patient build-up play involving Mark Noble and Felipe Anderson.
Cresswell sealed all three points for the Hammers in the second half with a superb free-kick into the top right-hand corner.
Chances were at a premium in a cagey first half at London Stadium, with Noble’s deflected effort from Pablo Fornals’ free-kick the closest either team came to a breakthrough before Yarmolenko’s strike.
Juan Mata should have levelled for the visitors two minutes into the second half but failed to hit the target after connecting well with Andreas Pereira’s low cross.
The result lifts West Ham above the Red Devils in the Premier League table, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remain three points off the top four and without an away league win since February.
Rashford injury compounds Red Devils’ woes
After making nine changes for the midweek Europa League victory over Astana, Solskjaer fielded the same team that beat Leicester at Old Trafford in their last league game.
Nemanja Matic and Rashford were the sole survivors from Thursday’s win, with teenage striker Mason Greenwood – United’s match-winner against the Kazakh side – unavailable due to tonsillitis.
Rashford, who had gone five matches without a goal in open play before today, looked short on confidence throughout, failing to register a single shot before going off injured just after the hour mark.
The injury capped a deeply frustrating afternoon for Solskjaer, whose side looked lacklustre, lethargic and short of ideas in the final third.
Matic’s long-range drive, which was easily held by Lukas Fabianski, was the closest they came to a goal in a forgettable first half.
The visitors improved marginally in the second and should have restored parity when Mata got on the end of Pereira’s delivery, but the veteran midfielder somehow managed to steer the ball wide from point-blank range.
Harry Maguire also went close to bringing the visitors level before West Ham’s second goal, firing straight at Fabianski after the Hammers had failed to clear a corner.
The defeat extends Manchester United’s poor away form – their last league victory on their travels came at Crystal Palace on 27 February.
Yarmolenko stars for Hammers
Manuel Pellegrini’s side were bottom of the table after four matches this season, but Sunday’s result lifts them three points above Solskjaer’s side in the standings – a mark of their progress under the Chilean’s stewardship.
The Hammers have now kept four successive clean sheets in all competitions, while summer signing Sebastien Haller and fit-again Yarmolenko have shown considerable promise up front in recent weeks.
Yarmolenko was a constant menace, breaking the deadlock with a composed finish and registering more shots than anyone else on the pitch.
The Ukrainian nearly set up West Ham’s second midway through the second half, but Felipe Anderson – who endured a disappointing afternoon – fired straight at De Gea.
The game remained on a knife edge until the 84th minute, when Cresswell’s sublime free-kick – his first goal since April 2018 – sealed the points for the home side.
Pellegrini’s team could end the day in the top four, provided Arsenal and Chelsea drop points against Aston Villa and Liverpool respectively.
Man of the match – Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham)
Man Utd vulnerable on their travels – the stats
- After winning each of his first nine away games in all competitions as Man Utd boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has failed to win in the following nine (D3 L6).
- West Ham have won three of their last five Premier League home games against Man Utd (D1 L1), as many as they had in their previous 23 home games against them in the top flight (W3 D11 L9).
- Manuel Pellegrini is the first manager to win a Premier League game against four different Manchester United managers (David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer).
- Man Utd have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 away matches in all competitions, their worst run since conceding in 14 consecutive matches between April and December 2002.
- Man Utd have lost seven of their last 15 Premier League games (W4 D4 L7), as many defeats as they had recorded in their previous 40 matches in the competition (W25 D8 L7).
- Since the start of the 2011-12 season, David de Gea has conceded more Premier League goals from direct free-kicks than any other goalkeeper (12).
- Felipe Anderson has been directly involved in 15 Premier League goals for West Ham since the beginning of last season (9 goals, 6 assists) – more than any other Hammer in that period.
‘We’re just all very flat’ – what the managers said
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s good to win, especially against Manchester United here at home and to keep a clean sheet. We tried to win from the beginning.
“Maybe we played too fast in the first 45 minutes, which is why we lost so many balls, but we didn’t allow them to create chances and Andriy’s goal was the key factor to open the game. It was a good goal.
“I told the players at half-time that if we defend the way we did in the first half, we were not going to concede too many opportunities.”
Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, speaking to BBC Sport: “I’m very disappointed. You’re always disappointed when you lose games. This was a game that we could have won. Going home tonight we’ll go through the game again. At the moment we’re just all very flat.
“Key moments went against us. They had some great finishes. We just didn’t have the quality when we had those big moments. In the Premier League if you don’t take them you won’t get any points. It tipped in their favour and we just have to accept that.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t win today, but apart from that I’m being very positive. I’ve said many times that there will be highs and lows. We’ve had some highs along the way, today we just have to accept we got no points and look forward to next week.”
West Ham travel to Oxford United in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 25 September (19:45 BST) before visiting Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, 28 September (15:00 BST).
After hosting Rochdale in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday (20:00 BST), Man Utd welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford in their next league game on Monday 30 September (20:00 BST).
Labour MP Harriet Harman says she will “not back down” in the race to replace John Bercow as Commons Speaker, despite objections from her local party.
Members in Camberwell and Peckham, London, voted to urge her to pull out, and hinted they could run a candidate against her at the next election.
But the ex-Labour deputy leader said her devotion to her constituency would be “unshakeable” if she became Speaker.
Mr Bercow has said he will stand down from the role by 31 October.
The House of Commons Speaker is in charge of keeping order during debates and ensuring the rules are observed.
Once an MP is elected Speaker they are expected to be impartial and can no longer take part in debates or put questions to ministers, although they can still do constituency work and hold surgery appointments.
Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party secretary Dave Lewis said: “As a party we lose a political voice in the House of Commons [if Ms Harman becomes Speaker] and as an electorate the people of Camberwell and Peckham lose a voice in the House of Commons.”
The vote urging Ms Harman to reconsider her candidacy was initially tied at 21 to 21 but a recount saw the motion passed by 26 to 22.
Responding to the vote, Ms Harman – who has been MP for Camberwell and Peckham since 1982 – said: “A confident and respected House of Commons representing every constituency in this country and holding the government to account is vital to our parliamentary democracy.
“The Speaker is at the heart of this – that’s why I’m going for it.”
She added the “overwhelming majority” of local members understood “the importance of a strong and fair Speaker and support me in this bid”.
Members also hinted they could run a candidate against Ms Harman in the next election, although Mr Lewis said he didn’t think that would be “a good idea”.
There is a tradition that parties do not stand against the Speaker. However, in September Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the Conservatives would break the convention by running against Mr Bercow in his Buckingham constituency, accusing him of ignoring “the government’s right to govern”.
As Mr Bercow announced on 9 September that he would be stepping down as an MP as well as a Speaker, the Conservatives will not now have to run against him.
And in the 2010 election, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage ran as a UKIP candidate against Mr Bercow.
Mr Bercow, who became Speaker in 2009, has faced criticism for failing to tackle allegations of bullying in the House of Commons, and from Brexiteers who questioned his impartiality on the EU.
He has also been accused of mistreating his own staff – allegations he denies.
However, he has received praise for strengthening the role of Parliament and making it easier for backbench MPs to hold the government to account.
Mr Bercow’s announcement that he would step down triggered the race to become the new Speaker.
So far eight MPs have announced their candidacy for the job: Sir Henry Bellingham, Chris Bryant, Ms Harman, Meg Hillier, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Eleanor Laing, Sir Edward Leigh and Shailesh Vara.
A new Speaker is elected through a secret ballot of all MPs.
A man accused of murdering a teenage girl who was stabbed in a park claimed to be “deeply saddened” to hear of her death but refused to help police, a court has heard.
Manuel Petrovic, 20, is one of four people jointly accused of murdering Jodie Chesney.
The 17-year-old was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in a park in Harold Hill, east London, on 1 March.
The Old Bailey has heard she was caught up in a dispute between drug dealers.
Mr Petrovic, a second man Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 19, and two youths aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from Barking and Romford, all deny murdering Jodie.
The court heard Mr Petrovic was arrested within days of her death after his Vauxhall Corsa was linked to the scene around the time of the stabbing.
Initially, he denied involvement in Jodie’s murder and said his car had been stolen in a knifepoint robbery.
Jurors were told he later admitted to owning the Vauxhall and having a mobile phone he used for selling cannabis.
He said: “I would like to say that I have no involvement in the murder of Jodie Chesney. I am deeply saddened by her death and feel for her friends and family.”
Mr Petrovic refused to name anyone he had been with that night “due to my own safety and the safety of my family”, saying people had already gone to his house looking for him.
The court heard Mr Petrovic said he had been with a friend on 1 March who received a call from a man, who was not named, asking for a lift.
They picked up that man, who was with another person, and drove to Harold Hill so the men could “collect some weed and some money”.
In his police statement, Mr Petrovic said the two unnamed men got out at Harold Hill, leaving him and his friend in the car.
He said the men were gone for up to five minutes and “seemed calm” when they returned.
“Nothing about them made me suspicious. I did not see either of them carrying anything,” he added.
After dropping the two men off, Mr Petrovic claimed a black male had pulled a knife to his throat and snatched his car keys.
He said he heard the next day that a girl had been stabbed in Harold Hill and added he “hoped it had nothing to do with why I was in the area” with the two unnamed men.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors: “You may recall Petrovic’s claim to have been ‘deeply saddened’ by Jodie’s death.
“Nonetheless, Petrovic was not willing to help the police. He continued to make no comment until the police gave up asking questions.”
Mr Aylett told jurors that police went to arrest Mr Ong-a-Kwie at a hostel where he was living and found a knife on top of a fridge in his room.
The prosecutor suggested the murder weapon itself may have been disposed of but the presence of another blade was “not without significance”.
The court heard officers continued their search for Mr Ong-a-Kwie and he was arrested at another address in Dagenham where the defendant allegedly told police: “Murder? I ain’t done a murder.”
The 17-year-old defendant was also arrested in the back garden of the house.
The trial continues.
Body scanners used to screen passengers for hidden explosives and weapons are being used for the first time at a London railway station.
A Home Office sponsored five-day trial has started at Stratford station, east London.
Portable scanners are being used to screen passengers from up to 30ft away without them having to pass through a security checkpoint.
The Home Office said the scheme was part of a “battle against knife crime”.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “No-one should feel they can walk the streets with a knife and expect to get away with it.
“We are pulling out all the stops in a battle against knife crime in London and across the country.”
The scanners, built by British firm Thruvision, reveal objects hidden inside clothing that block body heat.
Sensitive cameras capable of screening 2,000 passengers an hour will enable officers to see the size, shape and location of any blade or gun.
It does not show any intimate body parts, the Home Office said.
The station, which connects several Transport for London lines with Overground services, has an average of 110,000 passengers a day.
The trial will also look at how officers can use technology to reduce reliance on controversial stop-and-search powers.
Thruvision is already used on the Los Angeles Metro, which last year became the first mass transport system in the US to adopt it.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith, from British Transport Police, said: “Fortunately, knife crime on the rail network is very low.
“In support of the Home Office and other police forces, we are keen to explore how technology can assist us in tackling violent crime head on.”