Grenfell Tower: Gavin Barwell among former housing ministers criticised over delayed fire safety review
Ex-Croydon Central MP and new Downing Street chief of staff Gavin Barwell is being criticised over a delayed fire safety review after the devastating blaze at Grenfell Tower.
Mr Barwell is one of a string of housing ministers who did not give the go-ahead to a fire safety regulations.
The regulations review had already been delayed for years by the time Mr Barwell, who was responsible for housing for a year before the election, became a minister.
Former chief fire officer Ronnie King told the Independent: “Mr Barwell said he was still looking at it.”
Mr Barwell lost his seat six days ago but was named Theresa May’s new chief of staff at the weekend after the resignations of advisers Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy.
The All-Party Parliamentary Fire and Rescue Group has been demanding changes to the rules since 2013.
Mr King, a former fire chief in Wales who is an adviser to the All-Party Group, first raised his concern following another tower block fire in south London in 2009, which killed six people.
Regulations were last reviewed in 2006 but Mr King has long been pressing for a change, with Mr Barwell.
Prime minister Theresa May has summoned a meeting of the government’s Civil Contingencies Secretariat to consider their response to the Grenfell Tower blaze.
A spokesman said: “The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation.
“She has asked for a cross-Government meeting at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to take place at 4pm to co-ordinate the response and ensure the Government is ready to assist the emergency services and local authorities as necessary.
“The PM’s thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible incident and the emergency services, who are working tirelessly in very difficult circumstances.”