14 June 2022

We must confront the issues raised by the Grenfell disaster, says Jon Snow

14 June 2022

Journalist Jon Snow has called for those responsible for the Grenfell Tower fire to face prosecution.

Speaking during a memorial service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, Mr Snow said “there is an investigation continuing that will end in prosecution, and we must see to it that it does”.

The former Channel 4 news anchor spoke to an audience of residents, survivors, the bereaved, and politicians.

Theresa May and Michael Gove in prayer during the Grenfell fire memorial service at Westminster Abbey (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Former prime minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, building safety and fire minister Stephen Greenhalgh, and shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy sat to the side of the pulpit.

Mr Snow said: “Grenfell, set in the richest borough in Britain, speaks to the grotesque inequality with which our society has been riven.

“We must now confront the issues raised by the Grenfell disaster.”

Becoming emotional, the veteran broadcaster said it was the worst domestic tragedy that he has had to report on.

“This is our time,” he said. “This is the worst domestic tragedy that I have had to report on in 50 years.

“This is our moment, this is the moment when those responsible must face justice.”

Imran Khan QC addressed the politicians in the congregation at Westminster Abbey directly (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

His sentiments were echoed in a speech by Imran Khan QC, who addressed the politicians in the Abbey directly.

“Whilst you are welcome here today, if you fail to act, if you fail to assist the bereaved, survivors, residents and the wider community in the fight for justice, if you do nothing in the 365 days before the next anniversary, you will, I am sorry to say, not be welcome again.”

Along with tributes and speeches, the names of each of the 72 victims of the fire were read aloud during the ceremony.

As each group of names was read out, the congregation replied: “Forever in our hearts.”

They then observed a moment of silence, which was followed by the sound of an oud (a stringed instrument) played by Rihab Azar.

Earlier, the Dean of Westminster wished for a “better, safer, surer future”.

The Very Reverend David Hoyle told the service: “Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost.

People place white roses in memory of the 72 victims of the Grenfell fire outside Westminster Abbey in London (Jonathan Brady/:PA) (PA Wire)

“We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.

“Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future.”

The ceremony finished with the laying of roses at the Innocent Victims Memorial outside the Abbey.

A white rose had been left on each seat before the service.

Afterwards members of the congregation stayed outside to greet and hug each other.

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