To ensure public confidence that the role of Government has been properly scrutinised, the Prime Minister must allow an inquest into the deaths caused by the Grenfell Tower fire BEFORE any Public Inquiry takes place.
Concerns have been raised that a public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire could potentially be a “whitewash” as it will be Government-led and as such will not have the independence of an inquest.
In a public inquiry, surviving residents of the fire and bereaved families will not have the right to participate and ask questions.
An inquest into the death would almost certainly have been jury-led because of the possible involvement of public bodies in the deaths and guided by a coroner who acts independently of the Government. Bereaved families would be able to question the coroner and witnesses and even to call their own expert witnesses with agreement. An inquest is not a trial, although criminal proceedings can result from their findings and from the findings of public inquiries.
More than 50,000 people have already signed a petition calling for an inquest to be held instead of a public inquiry. I’ll be adding my name to the list.