February 22, 2018 / 12:38 PM / 10 months ago

May 'determined' to get fire disaster answers after Stormzy criticism

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to find answers to last year’s Grenfell tower block fire disaster, her spokesman said on Thursday after rapper Stormzy criticised the government response at the Brit music awards.

May, who along with her government were called “criminals” by Stormzy, was very clear that the fire in the social housing block that killed 71 people in June should never have happened, the spokesman said.

“I think the PM has been very clear that Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy that should never have happened and should never be allowed to happen again,” he told reporters.

“She’s determined that the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been ignored over so many years,” he said, adding that 58.9 million pounds had been committed to support the victims of disaster.

The charred Grenfell block, where a fire in a fridge freezer spread quickly partly because of flammable cladding panels, has become a potent symbol for some campaigners of the deep inequality between those living in Britain’s capital.

Stormzy, who won two awards at Britain’s most high-profile music awards late on Wednesday, rapped that May thought “we just forgot about Grenfell”.

“You criminals, and you’ve got the cheek to call us savages, you should do some jail time, you should pay some damages, you should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who was endorsed by Stormzy in a general election last year, congratulated the rapper.

“Congratulations @Stormzy1 for winning your first #BRIT award, and what a powerful performance. #Grenfell,” he said on Twitter.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison

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