What happened on the opening day of the inquiry?
We’ve rounded up information from today’s inquiry opening into a full story.
Chairman Martin Moore-Bick is expected to read his opening statement at Connaught Rooms in central London on Thursday (September 14) morning
The opening hearing of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry takes place on Thursday (September 14) morning.
Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick is expected to read out his opening statement during the hearing, which is expected to last around 45 minutes.
It takes place at Connaught Rooms in Great Queen Street, central London, and is being streamed live and shown at Notting Hill Methodist Church in Lancaster Road .
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We’ve rounded up information from today’s inquiry opening into a full story.
Sir Martin listed 13 issues which will be investigated by the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster. The issues, and some brief details highlighting what each will cover, are:
Labour’s Kensington MP criticised the setting for Sir Martin’s opening statement, saying its opulence shocked people.
She said: “It was a super sparkly place, it was incredibly inappropriate.
“Why did it have to be in central London? No doubt they could have found a place closer to home for 200 people.”
As mentioned already, there was anger that Sir Martin did not stay to take questions following his statement.
Among those wanting to speak to him was Michael Mansfield QC.
This is from Joe Delaney
Cllr Atkinson was was said he had confidence in Sir Martin.
He said: “I was as I expected it to be, it’s what you get when you have a judge in charge of an inquiry.
“A number of people are expecting too much of him. What is being forgotten is there’s a criminal investigation taking place at the same time.
“People wanting arrests need to look to the police investigation rather than the judge.
“His job is to find out what happened and I think he will do that.”
Joe Delaney, from Grenfell Action Group, lived near the stricken building.
He is concerned witnesses won’t be cross-examined during the inquiry
Sir Martin’s opening statement is now available to read here.
Professor Chris Imafidon was furious that Sir Martin left after giving his statement and did not stay to take questions.
Accusing the chairman of reading his prepared speech “like a robot” he said: “
Why didn’t he take questions from people that have been here all morning? Questions from people that have lost their beloved ones? Questions from widows that sat there?
“Why would he walk out on people that came here just to ask for the truth?
“We’re not asking for justice because we know justice will never be done.”
He continued: “We treat dogs better than we treat these victims.”
“Why would you walk out on the survivors?”
Here’s Cllr Campbell speaking outside Connaught Rooms
Remember we told you about BMELawyers4Grenfell at the start of the blog?
Lee Jasper represents the group, and said he was disappointed with the “obvious lack of empathy and compassion from the chairman”.
He repeated concerns about the inquiry’s remit and said: “I was disappointed he did not make an effort in relation to the diversity of the panel.”
He added: “All in all I think the public’s trust and confidence in the process has been severely damaged.”
“We will provide any document they ask for.”
The leader of the council has been speaking after Sir Martin’s opening statement.
She said the local authority would “work any way it can with the inquiry”.
Here’s Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Elizabeth Campbell arriving for the inquiry earlier today
With that final statement, Sir Martin thanks all those for attending and leaves the room.
So what did we make of that?
Rounding up, Sir Martin says: “We share a common goal, we are all searching for the truth about the cause of the fire and the massive loss of life that it caused and we owe it to those who died and to those whose homes have been destroyed to work together to achieve that goal.”
Sir Martin said it was in interest of all those who live and work in high rise buildings that findings are made as soon as possible.
Sir Martin said in a letter to Theresa May that he hoped to be able to produce the first report in Easter 2018. He says this will be limited to the first phase of the inquiry, but that itself is a challenging goal which will require “hard work” and “cooperation” from all concerned
Sir Martin expects the inquiry to view “thousands of documents”
Sir Martin will call on experts to give their opinions, provide reports and give evidence if necessary.. He says they will have the kind of knowledge “I do not possess”.
Sir Martin: “I have the power to require attendance of witnesses and production of documents”
Sir Martin says Phase Two is expected to take longer than Phase One, but work on both phases will proceed in parallel
Phase Two will also look at the communication between Grenfell residents, the Tenant management Organisation (TMO) and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) in relation to safety to the tower and the response to these communications
The second phase of the inquiry will look at how the building “became to be so seriously exposed to a disastrous fire”.
It will look at modifications made to the building over the years, and in particular, the last refurb, which saw cladding added to the building.
Sir Martin says he is mindful that many people who will give evidence are traumatised. Evidence will be “obtained in a sensitive way”, he said
Here’s Lancaster West resident Stewart Hall speaking ahead of this morning’s inquiry
Sir Martin says phase one will look the development of the fire, how and where it started, how it spread and the chain of events until it was extinguished.
It will also look at the response of emergency services and the evacuation of residents.
Sir Martin: “This room was chosen because it was necessary to find space large enough to accommodate the numbers of people it was thought wished to attend.”
He has now introduced his inquiry team
Sir Martin says it is important to understand the size of the task ahead, and that hard work lay ahead.
He said: “I intend to make sure the work proceeds as quickly as possible.”
He says the terms of reference are deliberately broad to enable scope in his lines of inquiry
Sir Martin is now running through the contentious terms of reference
Sir Martin says he has opted against using an assessor - someone who can add expertise or perspective that he doen’t possess - from within the community, fearing it would “undermine impartiality”.
Sir Martin pays tribute to the local community “that has done so much to help and support each other in these very difficult weeks”.
He speaks with admiration of Grenfell students who sat exams after the fire, saying “it’s difficult to find a better example of fortitude and resilience” of the community
Sir Martin says the disaster was ‘unprecedented’.
He is aware of the affect this has had on people who survived, many of whom have “lost everything”.
The hearing begins with a minute’s silence in memory of those that died and those whose lives have been changed forever.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick is speaking
More from Lois...
getwestlondon reporter Lois Swinnerton is outside Connaught Rooms, where the inquiry’s opening hearing is due to begin in the next 15 minutes or so.
Also there are demonstrators carrying banners and placards.
And the BMELawyers4Grenfell group filed an application for a Judicial Review, saying ‘comprehensive justice’ would not be served.
The group has called the scope of the probe to be widened, and a more ethnically diverse inquiry team, to represent those inside who lived inside Grenfell Tower
As the formal opening of the inquiry neared, campaign group Justice4Grenfell vowed it would not allow a ‘whitewash’.
However, there was mixed reaction, with Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad calling it a ‘complete betrayal of everything we were promised’.
The terms of reference of the public inquiry was revealed by Prime Minister Theresa May on August 15.
There were also a string of heated meetings held between the community and Sir Martin
However, he immediately drew criticism by doubting if the probe would be broad enough to satisfy all survivors.
Leading the inquiry is retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick.
A public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire was called following the disaster exactly three months ago today - June 14.
Thank you for joining us this morning as we bring you live updates of the opening of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry