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Grenfell campaigners beam cladding warning onto towers and tell future PM: be on the right side of history

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 4 days ago Sean Morrison

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Grenfell campaigners have urged the UK’s next prime minister to be “on the right side of history” as messages were beamed onto towers warning about dangerous cladding.

Demonstrators are calling for the material, which has been blamed for the rapid spread of the deadly fire in west London, to be banned and removed from homes.

Activists last night projected a message onto a number of towers across the UK, including one near the site of the blaze in June 2017, warning that the buildings are still fitted with cladding almost two years after the tragedy.

Video: US companies sued over London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire (Reuters)

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Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle died in the fire, said it was important to keep up the momentum in the work to prevent another disaster because there are still “many other Grenfell Towers out there".

Mr Mussilhy, vice chair of the campaign group Grenfell United, warned Tory leadership contenders vying to replace PM Theresa May, saying: "Don't forget about Grenfell. Be on the right side of history.”

The message projected onto towers across the UK on Wednesday night read: “Two years after Grenfell and this building is still covered in dangerous cladding. #Demandchange, Grenfell United.”

Tower blocks in London, Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle were targeted as part of the projection campaign effort, it was reported.

Friday will mark two years since Grenfell went up in flames in a huge fire that left 72 people dead.

Mr Mussilhy said it was important to keep the tragedy in the public eye because "the issues are national - we need to make sure no more lives are lost and our loved ones did not die in vain".

The 33-year-old father said it was important that whoever succeeds Mrs May recognises the importance of working with survivors and campaigners to ensure a future tragedy is avoided.

Of the next Tory leader, he said: "We don't know who it's going to be and, quite frankly, it doesn't matter, because the pressure will continuously be applied by us, and hopefully we can have a similar if not better relationship with the next person."

a tall building in a city: A cladding warning is beamed onto a building close to Grenfell Tower (Nigel Howard) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited A cladding warning is beamed onto a building close to Grenfell Tower (Nigel Howard) He added: "You have an opportunity to make changes that will echo throughout generations, to know that 72 people lost their lives in the most horrific way possible, but because of the work you did with Grenfell United, it now meant that people are safe in their homes and are treated with respect and something like this will never happen again."

Mr Mussilhy said it was important to keep Grenfell in the public eye because "the issues are national - we need to make sure no more lives are lost and our loved ones did not die in vain".

He said it was hard to stay positive sometimes, but the community is "very resilient, motivated and determined, and we will make sure our voices are continued to be listened to".

Grenfell United is campaigning for a social housing regulator that will ensure tenants are listened to when they raise concerns, and for all dangerous materials including cladding to be banned and removed from homes.

Mr Mussilhy continued: "It's quite insulting at times to see any time Grenfell is spoken about in Parliament there's no more than 6-7 MPs in the room.

"And it goes to show the mentality that people have towards this, it just feels like people are waiting for this just to die down and eventually go away, but it's not.

Gallery: Inside flat 16 at the Grenfell Tower (Reuters)

"Trust me, we are not going to go away, we are not going to quiet down, if anything we are going to get louder and louder, we are going to keep doing what we are doing, and we are going to keep using different strategies and techniques to make sure that you see that we are still here and we are campaigning, we want change, people need to be safe, this never has to happen again, people that were responsible for this are held to account."

Kensington and Chelsea Council also called on the future PM to honour promises or "risk losing what little trust there is". Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: "The Government has made many commitments to the families from the tower, the community around the tower, and to people right across London - so no matter who the next PM is, they need to honour those commitments or risk losing what very little trust there is.

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