Damning Speech Proves Housing Minister Failed To Act On Tower Block Safety

15 June 2017, 09:39 | Updated: 15 June 2017, 11:37

LBC has uncovered a damning speech from former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, which proves he failed to follow up promises to review fire risks in tower blocks.

LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood has unearthed Mr Barwell, now Theresa May's Chief Of Staff, saying he would review the report into the Lakanal House tragedy.

But despite his promise, nothing was done - and yesterday, at least 12 people died when Grenfell Tower went up in flames in west London.

Gavin Barwell with Theresa May
Gavin Barwell with Theresa May. Picture: PA

In a debate in the Houses of Parliament on 24th October last year, Mr Barwell was asked about his plans for building regulations following the Lakanal House inquiry.

His said: "We have not set out any formal plans to review the buildings regulations as a whole.

"However, we have publicly committed to review Part B following the Lakanal House fire."

Theo explains: "The key bit is Part B. They made the commitment to look at it. It never happened.

"The Tories are pointing out that Mr Barwell was only one Housing Minister. The post of Housing Minister has had a huge turnover of ministers - Mark Prisk, Stephen Williamson, Brandon Lewis and Mr Barwell.

"When you have that high turnover, no one passes on their previous brief as well as they could have done."

A statement from the government insisted they had not "sat on" a fire safety review, saying: "Following the Lakanal House fire, the coroner recommended the guidance relating to fire safety within the Building Regulations was simplified.

"This work is ongoing – including with the publication of a survey in February this year – as our priority is to make sure we have the highest possible standards.

"The Coroner also asked Government to write to councils encouraging them to consider retro-fitting sprinklers, which we did shortly after."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

The Foreign Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'What's the difference between a Russian invasion and incursion?' Nick grills minister

Exclusive
Julian Richer appeared on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Wednesday.

Business leader and former Tory donor 'couldn't believe you could buy access to ministers'

Exclusive
Cycling laws are due to change, years after the Charlie Alliston case

Killer cyclists face prosecution under historic new law welcomed by campaigners

Cyclist doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

Nick Ferrari attacks cyclist who doesn't use cycle lanes 'because they're stupid'

The Transport Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Covid travel rules 'kind of back to good old days', Transport Secretary says

Katharine Birbalsingh insisted strict uniform codes are needed

Social mobility tsar: Pupils will bring knives to school if you don't enforce uniform code

The distraught caller was speaking to Nick Ferrari

'I can't afford my heating': Caller bursts into tears as cost of living crisis laid bare

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to LBC this morning

'Less than half my office is back at work': Business Sec Kwasi Kwarteng reveals in WFH row

Rachel Reeves spoke to Nick Ferrari this morning

Shadow Chancellor: Tax North Sea gas firms to help struggling families

Exclusive
Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, has welcomed the return to the office.

'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Nick Ferrari hit out at the former Tory MP

Nick Ferrari: It is shameful that Christian Wakeford defected to Labour with no by-election

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Gary Neville "brings life to politics".

'He brings life to politics': Andy Burnham welcomes Gary Neville to the Labour team

Exclusive
Andy Burnham has said he cannot see how the Prime Minister can survive the partygate scandal.

Isn’t it time to go Boris? Andy Burnham tells LBC ‘I don’t see how the PM can survive’

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch LIVE from 9am

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch Again

James Heappey has said he is giving the PM the benefit of the doubt.

Boris 'deserves the benefit of the doubt' over partygate scandal, minister insists

Mr Heappey said Prince Andrew had been 'moved from public view'

Prince Andrew's Epstein and Maxwell links ‘horrifically ill-advised,' minister tells LBC