Theresa May chased from church as angry crowd brands British PM a ‘coward’


The Telegraph reports: She came to try to make up for her mistake but it only served to enrage this close-knit community even more.

Theresa May had provoked widespread criticism and anger on Thursday after failing to visit the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire when she came to the Westway road – staying for 15 minutes and swerving any contact with locals.

On Friday afternoon, word spread she was due to come back, this time to visit St Clement’s Church, where volunteers had been boxing up donations. Before long a crowd had gathered, filling the street outside the church.

As they waited, the people became increasingly hostile, shouting at her to come out and face them. One man began chanting: “Get her out! Get her out!”, while another screamed at police barring the door to the church: “Why have you brought her here? If she cared she would have come yesterday.” [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports: More than 70 people remain unaccounted for after the Grenfell Tower blaze and 30 are confirmed dead, it has been revealed.

Police released updated figures on the deaths on Friday as anger in the community grew over what residents said was a lack of information being released to them. Scores of protesters entered Kensington town hall in the afternoon chanting: “We want justice.”

In a press briefing during which residents shouted their own questions at police and fire service representatives, Metropolitan police commander Stuart Cundy said 30 people have been confirmed dead, including one victim who died in hospital. But he acknowledged that the death toll would increase.

The scale of the disaster came into stark focus as it was revealed for the first time that 70 people are believed to be unaccounted for since the blaze. Police fear the fire was so intense and devastating that some victims may never be identified. [Continue reading…]

Polly Toynbee writes: That tomb in the sky will be forever Theresa May’s monument. Grenfell marks the spot and her visit marks the moment the last vestiges of her career were finally rubbed out. She made it her own yesterday by that fateful “visit” to a handful of senior fire officers, guarding her from any contaminating contact with the bereaved and newly homeless. Dead to emotion or empathy, she sealed her fate.

Precise blame comes later in the public inquiry: we are all overnight experts in cladding and sprinklers now. But political blame spreads right through the Conservative party, with no escape on offer. This goes far beyond the precise shockers – the Tory MPs who mockingly rejected housing regulation; the cuts to funding to councils responsible for retro-fitting fire suppressants; the disregard of coroner’s instructions after the 2009 Lakanal House tragedy; and even the plan to opt out of EU safety regulations. Conservative Kensington and Chelsea council allegedly blocking its ears to tenants’ well-founded anxiety is just the immediate scandal. But this event reaches far deeper, to the very sinews of its party’s policy.

That tower is austerity in ruins. Symbolism is everything in politics and nothing better signifies the May-Cameron-Osborne era that stripped bare the state and its social and physical protection of citizens. The horror of poor people burned alive within feet of the country’s grandest mansions, many of them empty, moth-balled investments, perfectly captures the politics of the last seven years. The Cameron, Osborne, Gove Notting Hill set live just up the road. [Continue reading…]

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