Rees-Mogg says Grenfell victims lacked ‘common sense’
- Credit: Archant
MPs have demanded that Jacob Rees-Mogg apologise after making 'insensitive', 'appalling' comments about the 72 people killed in the Grenfell Tower fire.
Speaking last night to LBC's Nick Ferarri, the Tory MP said the poor cladding was the cause of the fire but was not necessarily the cause of the tragedy.
The MP for North East Somerset said: "The tragedy came about because of the cladding leading to the fire racing up the building and then was compounded by the state policy,
"It seems to me that is the tragedy of it. The more one's read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of surviving. I think if you ignore what you're told and leave, you are so much safer."
He then went on to suggest the victims should have shown more 'common sense' and fled from the fire.
You may also want to watch:
"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," he said.
"It is such a tragedy that didn't happen but it isn't anything to do with race or class and it's rather sad to raise these types of points over a great tragedy."
- 1 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 2 Brexit shambles: A stress of our own making
- 3 Group in protest against Tory MPs who voted down free school meals targets offices with empty plates
- 4 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 5 These are the 322 Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals to children
- 6 Tory minister blames journalists for NHS Test and Trace failure as he defends Dido Harding
- 7 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 8 Michel Barnier postpones Brussels return as Brexit trade talks in London continue
- 9 How the Daily Star became Boris Johnson's biggest critic
- 10 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
The conversation came as Rees-Mogg and Ferrari discussed the findings of the Grenfell inquiry report published last week - which noted the fire brigade's 'stay put' policy which the service believed would save lives but the inquiry found could have cost more.
The shadow housing minister, Sarah Jones MP, said: "These are appalling comments. Jacob Rees-Mogg should retract them and apologise immediately.
"Statements like this just go to show how out of touch the Tories are and are a glaring admission of their failure to act in the interest of the Grenfell victims and their families."
Speaking to the Mirror, a 62-year-old who lost five members of his family in the 2017 tragedy, said: "He has got to apologise. Who is going to challenge this man over saying this?
"The firemen were not aware of how bad this fire was and what the building was made up of, the emergency callers weren't aware, so people took instructions.
"This is the reality of it - he wasn't there."
On Tuesday morning, Rees-Mogg issued an apology for the remarks.
He said: "I profoundly apologise.
"What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade's advice to stay and wait at the time. However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn't and I don't think anyone else would.
"What's so sad is that the advice given overrides common sense because everybody would want to leave a burning building.
"I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments. With hindsight and after reading the report no one would follow that advice. That's the great tragedy."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.