Conservative peer apologises for Grenfell fire victims blunder

A Conservative peer and former Cabinet minister has apologised for getting the number of people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire wrong when speaking during the inquiry.

Eric Pickles, who gave evidence last week, incorrectly said 96 people died in the June 2017 blaze. The correct number of victims was 72.

In an email to the inquiry afterwards, he apologised for what he said was an “unintended mistake”.

Lord Pickles, a former MP for Brentwood and Ongar who was secretary of state for communities and local government between 2010 과 2015, referred to the victims as the “nameless 96 people” when he appeared before the inquiry into the fire on 7 4 월.

In an email published by the inquiry, as a new module of hearings began on Monday, Pickles said that, in preparing to give evidence, he had “other tragedies, including Hillsborough” on his mind.

The politician, who was also chair of the Conservative party from 2009 ...에 2010, wrote that he “misspoke”.

이메일에서, 그는 말했다: “In my final remarks I misspoke and referenced the 96 people that died in and immediately after Hillsborough.

“I apologise to the family and friends of the 72 people who died at Grenfell for this unintended mistake, which was unscripted.

“The dead are remembered not as a statistic but with dignity by their families, survivors and all of us.”

He asked that the email be published alongside his evidence.

In July 2021 a coroner ruled that Andrew Devine, 늙어서 죽은 사람 55, 32 years after suffering severe and irreversible brain damage at Hillsborough, was unlawfully killed and therefore was legally the 97th victim of the disaster.

After Pickles’ remarks, Grenfell United, a group supporting survivors of the fire and the bereaved, criticised Pickles for what it branded his “utter disregard” for victims and called for his removal from government and the House of Lords.

성명서에서, 그룹이 말했다: “Eric Pickles’ disrespect at the inquiry has left us speechless. How dare he refer to our loved ones we lost that night as ‘the 96 nameless’. Seventy-two people died in Grenfell and none of them were nameless.

“His utter disregard for what happened and to those no longer with us is horrifying, given that he had the ability as minister of housing to reform building safety.”

The group added: “Eric Pickles must be removed from government and the Lords. 그렇지 않으면, government continues to show the contempt it’s always had for people’s safety in this country.”

Pickles also appeared to become frustrated with how much of his time the inquiry was taking up last week, as he gave a second day of evidence.

Speaking to Richard Millett QC, the lead counsel to the inquiry, 그는 말했다: “By all means sir, feel free to ask me as many questions as you like, but could I respectfully remind you that you did promise that we would be away this morning and I have changed my schedules to fit this in.”

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