Fury after Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests Grenfell Tower residents who followed fire brigade’s ‘stay put’ instructions lacked ‘common sense’
- He was on LBC discussing findings of Grenfell inquiry report with Nick Ferrari
- Tory MP suggested those who died should have defied fire brigade’s advice
- London Fire was heavily criticised for its ‘stay put’ policy after 72 people died
Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked fury after suggesting Grenfell residents who followed firefighters’ instructions to ‘stay put’ lacked ‘common sense’.
Mr Rees-Mogg, 50, was slammed for the ‘insensitive’ comments on Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show, with members of the community demanding an apology and declaring he ‘should be ashamed of himself’.
The Tory MP said: ‘If you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer’.
He was referring to the London Fire Brigade’s ‘stay put’ policy on the night of the June 2017 disaster.
A recent report declared it ‘cost lives’, with mass calls for commissioner Dany Cotton not to get her pension pot and even face criminal charges.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the host Nick Ferrari: ‘The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.
‘And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.’
Ahmet Chellat, 62, who lost five relatives in the inferno that killed a total of 72 people, demanded the politician apologise.
He told the Mirror: ‘He has got to apologise. Who is going to challenge this man over saying this? What common sense is he talking about?’
Mr Chellat told the newspaper residents ‘died on the stairs’ trying to escape the burning building, despite LFB’s repeated calls for them to stay in their flats.
Yvette Williams, who chairs the campaign group Justice4Grenfell, branded the comments ‘appalling’.
Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked fury after suggesting Grenfell Tower residents (pictured on the night of the fire left and in the days after right) who followed firefighters’ instructions to ‘stay put’ lacked ‘common sense’
She told the paper: ‘This is an appalling statement to make but unsurprisingly symptomatic of Rees Mogg’s ilk.
‘Rees-Mogg has a privileged background, what is his experience of living in social housing? How many tower blocks has he lived in?
‘To suggest that those who followed ‘his’ party’s instructions were not using ‘common sense’ is an absolute insult.’
She claims Mr Rees-Mogg’s Conservative colleagues were the ones who failed to act on residents’ concerns the tower block in Kensington, west London, was not safe.
Another victim support group Grenfell United described the comments as ‘extremely painful’ and ‘beyond disrespectful’.
Probing him further about the tragedy, presenter Mr Ferrari asked the politician if it was caused by ‘racism’ or ‘policies of class’, as has been suggested by some.
The leader of the House of Commons replied: ‘I don’t think so. I think the tragedy came about because of the cladding, leading to the fire racing up the building, and then was compounded by the ‘Stay Put’ policy.
Mr Rees-Mogg, 50, was slammed for the ‘insensitive’ comments on Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show, with members of the community demanding an apology and declaring he ‘should be ashamed of himself’
‘And it seems to me that that is the tragedy of it. The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.
‘And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.
‘But I don’t think it’s anything to do with race or class, and indeed I think it’s rather sad to raise these types of points over a great tragedy.
‘Nobody was evil in relation to this great tragedy, but people made mistakes.
‘And humanity makes mistakes and sometimes they have deeply tragic consequences. But it wasn’t done because people had chips on their shoulder or they were bad people, they just got something terribly, terribly wrong.’
After the first report of the inquiry into the blaze was released, LFB commissioner Ms Cotton has refused to apologise for her ‘stay put’ commands that night.
London Fire Brigade boss Dany Cotton has faced calls to resign over her ‘stay put’ policy on the night of the inferno
She said sorry for causing ‘additional hurt’ to families affected, but refused to quit and will instead retire next April with a possible pension of £2million.
Miss Cotton said she was ‘disappointed’ by Grenfell Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report for criticising named firefighters for their response.
She has vowed to stay on, arguing she wanted to ‘continue to protect the people of London’.
The Moore-Bick report concluded that the LFB breached national guidelines over its ‘gravely inadequate’ preparations and did not have a plan to evacuate the tower.
Asked if she would quit, Ms Cotton said: ‘No, I won’t. I will retire in six months’ time because my commitment is to making those changes, and if I resign I can’t do that.’
But Conservative MP Sir Mike Penning, who was a firefighter before he entered politics, said she must carry the can for the fatal advice to residents to ‘stay put’ in their homes as the blaze took hold.
He supported demands by relatives of the 72 people who died for Ms Cotton to leave her post – and said if she refused to do so, London Mayor Sadiq Khan should dismiss her.
Mr Rees-Mogg is pictured on LBC earlier this year in January
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