News ID: 264977
Published: 0551 GMT January 29, 2020

Grenfell inquiry at risk of turning into whitewash

Grenfell inquiry at risk of turning into whitewash

The second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry is at risk of descending into a whitewash as the firms involved in the refurbishment of the building have requested immunity from prosecution as a condition for their cooperation.

The request is believed to have been communicated to the inquiry chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, effectively asking him to secure an immunity guarantee from the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, Presstv Reported.

In reaction to the request, Moore-Bick said: "What they are asking me to do is to apply to the attorney general for an undertaking that nothing said by a witness in answer to questions asked in the inquiry will be used in furtherance of a prosecution against them".   

There were reportedly “gasps” in the inquiry hearing room when Moore-Bick announced the news to the people present.

The firms seeking immunity from prosecution are cladding company Harley Facades and the building contractor Rydon. In addition, the Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation and “some others” (according to Moore-Bick) are requesting immunity from the attorney general.

The Grenfell Tower inquiry's second phase began on January 27 and is examining how the building was covered in flammable cladding during its refurbishment between 2012 and 2016.

Harley Facades, Rydon and the Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation are expected to attend the hearing in London tomorrow. It is believed their requests for immunity will be discussed at the hearing ahead of witness testimonies beginning on February 03.

The Grenfell Tower block fire disaster of June 14, 2017, was the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War, as it claimed 72 lives.

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