A debate in Parliament cranked up the pressure on tumble dryer manufacturer Indesit and its parent company Whirlpool, following a blaze which devastated a tower block in Shepherd’s Bush in August.

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter had promised to raise the issue during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday evening (September 13), and was pleased to see it debated for double the length of time it was scheduled for.

Mr Slaughter told getwestlondon that MPs from across the political spectrum and country were concerned about the issue and with what happened at the flats near Shepherd's Bush Tube station on August 19, an incident which required 120 firefighters to deal with.

The MP said an early end to other proceedings meant the debate lasted around an hour instead of its allocated 30 minutes.

"It was a very good debate. Other members were able to contribute and express their concerns, as there’s five million of these machines out there," said Mr Slaughter.

Concern about manufacturer's tumble dryer advice

The chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee, MP Iain Wright, has written to Whirlpool to express concerns over its plans to repair faulty appliances, while consumer watchdogs Which? has also condemned the manufacturers.

The criticisms come after an Indesit tumble dryer awaiting repair because of a fault which has affected millions of other machines is believed to have set fire to a kitchen in Shepherds Court on August 19.

Within minutes the flames from Debbie Defreitas’ home had spread to other floors, destroying two homes, damaging properties on several floors and resulting in several families moving out to live in temporary accommodation.

Indesit is telling owners of machines awaiting repair to continue using the appliance if it is not left unattended. However, Mrs Defreitas was unable to prevent the fire despite following this advice.

Video thumbnail, Shepherd's Bush flat fire
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But Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Margot James, has backed the advice given by Whirpool.

She said in Parliament: “I am not yet persuaded that the product is necessarily unsafe, because the very few fires overall in terms of the five million machines that have been sold have mostly been contained within the machine.

"On being present, bearing in mind what trading standards believes to be a very low risk, I think that the advice is reasonable given that a total product recall is unlikely to get back more than one in four machines.”

Her speech led to Mr Slaughter describing her as acting more as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Big Business.

'Millions are using dryers which could catch fire'

The aftermath of a fire which is believed to have been caused by a tumble dryer

Now, the BIS Select Committee has written to Whirlpool to raise concern at the length of time it is taking to carry out the repairs.

The letter, from Mr Wright, says: “More importantly, the risk posed by faulty dryers is also clearly apparent, as demonstrated by a potentially fatal tower block blaze in London in August 2016, which London Fire Brigade attributed to a faulty lndesit tumble dryer.

“In light of this, I would like to understand whether you intend to change your customer advice, given London Fire Brigade has urged that customers should not use their appliance until it has been checked and repaired. If not, please explain why not.”

And Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which? added: “It is shocking that almost a year since this problem was identified and​ there are still millions of people who​ have tumble dryers in their homes that could catch fire.

“The committee is right to highlight the failings with the product safety system and the government must now review the Whirlpool case and set out how it is going to improve safety for consumers.”