Johnson in fire 'politicking' spat with Khan

The Foreign Secretary says blaming fire service cuts is "unbelievable" after the London mayor demands "answers" from the PM.

Boris Johnson has hit out at "political game playing" by Labour in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The Foreign Secretary attacked "outrageous politicking" as he singled out Labour's London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Earlier, Mr Khan wrote to the Prime Minister demanding "answers, action and justice" over the tower block tragedy, which has killed at least 30.

The mayor called for an immediate response from Theresa May over failures at Grenfell Tower.

Heightening a political row over the fatal inferno, Mr Johnson posted on Facebook: "There has sadly been some political game playing about the terrible fire in London.

"I find it unbelievable that Labour are suggesting that this tragedy was somehow caused by fire service cuts."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously suggested spending cuts to local authorities could have contributed to the blaze.

Mr Johnson, who was in charge of the capital between 2008 and 2016, defended his record as London mayor by noting fires in the capital decreased by 50% during his spell at City Hall.

He added: "Sadiq Khan conducted his own review of the London fire safety plan. If he felt that the provision in Kensington was deficient he had ample budget to change it.

"Any attack on emergency services performance is outrageous politicking by Labour."

In a lengthy letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Khan criticised the support and information being given to Grenfell Tower residents, as well as the relief efforts for those left homeless by the horror fire.

Outlining a series of failures, the mayor told the Prime Minister he expects answers later on Friday.

Mr Khan urged Mrs May to chase prosecutions should anyone be found to have been "negligent" over the disaster, as he called for residents of the north Kensington building to be given free legal representation.

The mayor, who visited the scene of the tragedy on Thursday, described local residents as "distraught, frustrated and increasingly angry".

Mr Khan said residents "cannot comprehend" why they are not being given more information about missing family members and friends.

Attacking the "insufficient support" for victims of the fire, the mayor said "scale of this tragedy is clearly proving too much" for Kensington and Chelsea Council to cope with.

He noted some Grenfell Tower residents were still sleeping in the nearby Westway Sports Centre on Thursday night despite claims accommodation had been found for all of those who lost their homes.

With questions over the tragedy focusing on the installation of exterior cladding on Grenfell Tower during a recent £8.6m refurbishment, Mr Khan said residents in other renovated tower blocks were "terrified" the same thing could happen to them.

If the Government believes any other tower blocks could be at risk, the mayor demanded residents be rehoused immediately.

He added: "Please also confirm that there will be an immediate implementation of the improved safety rules proposed in 2013 but still not implemented."

"We cannot afford to wait years for the outcome," he said.


June 16, 2017

Sources:` Sky News

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