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Grenfell Inquiry 'Undermined' If Survivors Appointed As Assessors, Chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick Says

Huffington Post UK logo Huffington Post UK 14/09/2017 Jack Sommers

© PA Wire/PA Images The Grenfell Inquiry will not appoint a survivor of the fire to help find answers, as this would “undermine” its independence, the chair has said.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the inquiry’s assessors would not be people with a direct, personal link to the fire, in his 45-minute opening statement, after severe criticism of him and his team for being remote from survivors and relatives of those who died.

The inquiry, whose terms of reference has also been controversial, began on Thursday, three months after the blaze gutted the building, killing around 80 people.

Related: Grenfell Tower inquiry boss told: You're not one of us (Provided by: Sky News)

Moore-Bick was condemned as a “technocrat” and his all-white inquiry panel was subject to a failed legal challenge by a coalition of BME lawyers who said more diversity was needed.

Before he opened on the inquiry, protestors gathered outside the London venue, carrying placards and demanding “justice for Grenfell”.

Moore-Bick opened the inquiry with a minute’s silence. Those in the room were asked to rise as he entered, prompting some to tut and do so grudgingly, according to HuffPost’s reporter at the hearing.

He said he would appoint assessors next week and insisted they would have the necessary experience.

He added the inquiry “will provide answers to the pressing questions as to how a disaster of this kind could occur in 21st century London”.

His statement is being delivered in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. He will not take questions after.

Survivors and relatives of the dead were watching Moore-Bick’s statement live on a screen from Notting Hill Methodist Church.

A silent march in memory of the dead is planning for Thursday evening.

Speaking to HuffPost before the inquiry opened, key figures said they feared it would let the guilty parties get away with it.

Clarrie Mendy, who lost two relatives in the fire, said: “Lives have been lost... my own blood. I do take it personally. I’m not talking about ‘lessons to be learned’. Mistakes, negligence - let’s look at that.”

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