By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Grenfell: Johnson appoints engineer with links to the firm that made the tower’s cladding to the inquiry
Former Labour MP Emma Dent Coad tells the Star that the PM has driven the ‘final nail in the coffin’ of justice
BORIS JOHNSON has driven the “final nail in the coffin” of justice for the victims of Grenfell by appointing an engineer to the fire inquiry who has links to the firm which made the tower’s cladding, former Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad told the Star today.
Mr Johnson picked Benita Mehra last month to assist Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who is leading the inquiry into the June 2017 disaster that killed 72 people.
Ms Mehra previously ran the Women’s Engineering Society, which received a £71,000 grant from the charitable arm of Arconic, the US-based maker of the aluminium composite cladding that fuelled the Grenfell fire.
She will be one of two experts helping Mr Moore-Bick with at least 18 months of hearings into the events leading up to the fire.
Ms Dent Coad, who lost her seat last month, said people affected by the fire have now abandoned all hope that the second phase of the inquiry will bring any justice.
“They ripped the firefighters to shreds in the first phase and now what I hear from people in the community is that this is proof that it is — as we feared — an Establishment stitch-up,” she said.
“People are in shock but will be regrouping and planning over the next few days. We were told over and over again that we should trust the process — but we can’t.
“The appointment is the last thing we want to hear. The whole idea of the second phase has been so invested in and for this to come about is horrific.”
Grenfell United vice-chair Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle in the fire, is calling for Ms Mehra to stand down before hearings restart on January 27. He described the appointment as a “disgrace.”
A spokesperson for the inquiry said it was confident that Ms Mehra’s former role would “not affect her impartiality.”
Two and a half years after Grenfell fire: Tens of thousands of UK households live in buildings covered in flammable cladding: here.
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GRENFELL fire survivors today demanded the resignation of an advisor on the upcoming inquest, for her links to the company that made the tower’s cladding.
Survivors and bereaved relatives of the 72 people who died in the June 2017 fire have written to engineer Benita Mehra after discovering that, as head of the Women’s Engineering Society between 2015 and 2018, she accepted a grant of £71,000 from the Arconic Foundation.
The foundation is the charitable wing of Arconic, which supplied the ACM cladding that caused the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread so quickly.
The letter to Ms Mehra, drafted by a legal firm representing 65 of the inquiry’s main participants, includes personal objections to her appointment from the Grenfell families.
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