Theresa May’s new chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, was the minister responsible for a review into fire safety in tower blocks which was delayed with fatal consequences.

Barwell was Housing Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government from June 2016 until he lost his Croydon Central seat last Thursday.

In October 2016, he told Parliament that the Government had “committed ourselves” to reviewing building regulations relating to fire safety following a fire that killed six people at the Lakanal House tower block in 2009.

But the Fire Risk Management Journal reported in March that no progress had been made with the review in the months following his promise.

When the Journal raised the delay with Barwell’s department, this is the response they received:

“A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government declined to give a date for the building regulations review, adding that it will place ‘in due course.”

It has also emerged that Barwell’s predecessor, Brandon Lewis, ignored calls from a coroner to fit all high rise blocks with sprinklers, saying it was not the “responsibility” of government.

In light of today’s tragedy at Grenfell Tower, Barwell and Lewis have some difficult questions to answer…


  1. They also brought into law that landlords are not responsible for the their property to be fit for people to live in. How’s that helping the man on the street yes it’s helping the fat cats to rent out rat infested dwellings at enormous rents ?

  2. As anyone noticed there is usually a foul smell of Tory cut backs when tragedy happens. we don’t know the cause of the fire yet but we do know the shortage of fire stations will not have help the situation. I’m truly horrified that predictions of the consequences of cutting our vital services is seemingly coming true. I hope Im wrong and the cut backs have not hindered the fire service or the police, but somehow I think that’s wishful thinking


  4. Maybe an idea to wait a short time while we think about the dead and injured, many of whom are yet to be identified, before we start one the political point scoring.
    I speak as a long term labour member

  5. Alan. While I respect what you say, I strongly feel that those who have passed or are injured from this awful fire would not wish us to sit and pontificate but to ask serious questions as to how this has been allowed to happen. We can send prayers up and ask questions simultaneously.

  6. I’m torn on this as you are both correct.I can’t be making political comments on this today,I’m also a Labour member and we know how the cuts are affecting people’s lives,it’s being played out tragicly today.Questions and blame will come but not today.

  7. When will Tory cuts affect the Tory’s?..time to stop with Austerity that only affects the poor while rich get richer poor die…while allowing this to happen…£10million pound and NO sprinklers? Wtf.. That should have built new homes that were safe not make rich even richer.
    Cuts to all services will put us all at risk? Do they care?? Not a hope..

  8. Now is the time for action not another cover up so it doent look like political gain? Those hurt and dead would not care about politics..but would not want it happening matter who is too blame.. But no action means its only a matter of time before another just like it. Corruption cannot be allowed to rule forever so as not make political points?. Wake up..19 fire stations closed..they do a great job but cannot go on with cuts and job loses.. Engines pulled on from other places.. What happens if those places near help …now?. Like police pulled in those places left without cover? But don’t score points?? lives at risk…worth more than any points…

  9. Andrew Jenkinson says:

    Sorry Alan, I disagree. It is not political point scoring to accuse someone of deliberately failing to act to prevent a tragedy and the evidence for that is provided above. Do we delay and allow another such tragedy to occur or do we demand immediate action?
    ALL tower blocks should immediately undergo safety checks. The government should pay for remedial action AND CLAIM IT BACK FROM THE LANDLORDS.

  10. Eolas Pellor says:

    Theresa May and Boris Johnson have to be held accountable for this. The policies they championed contributed in no small measure to this disaster. How many disasters does it take for people to say, “Enough!” May and Johnson need to be shown the door.

  11. From a lack of community based police to gather intelligence due to her cuts, to losing an entire dossier of evidence about paedophilia in Westminster, missing her own targets on immigration; set, reset and set again and again to cuts and closures in the fire service this woman has overseen the biggest total failure of any government to protect its citizens. She disgusts me. The whole damned lot of them just disgust me!

  12. This tragedy speaks for it self High tower blocks should never have been erected in the first place and to think of how many of these are still erected and being used omg people from way back to the 60s and 70s protested about being put in these and yet who authorised these to be built ( what ever government it was or maybe all had a roll to play in this by not providing council built home and cutbacks
    And private landlord are never going to admit blame All government partys must come together on this and save lives of poor innocent people from greed wealth and profit and take all of these dangers away from ordinary people may god bless these people in there loss

  13. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if truly fit for purpose housing was built as a replacement. Keeping the community in place and London vibrant. If we all have this in mind and push for it, perhaps we can respect the living and the dead from today.

  14. Sorry folks, but this IS a political issue. It cannot be depoliticised. It is not disrespectful to the dead to point out the facts. It is disrespectful to the dead to let those responsible off the hook.

  15. Why don’t we force the politician’s to take a paycut like the rest of us in austerity,
    They are meant to be serving the general public and that means no extras on top of their pay as well they get enough pay .
    But what I think will continue to be the normal format from these political thieves will be more 10% pay rises + expenses for themselves and their cronies whilst the normal people are suffering and dieing from our leaders incompetent management programmes will be yet more deaths and loss to the corrupted cost cutting of the public coffers

  16. Margaret TYSON says:

    Heads should roll, but they won’t. The blame game teams will already be pointing there fingers at everyone but those in their team. Sit back everyone the circus is coming to town

  17. Notice building been burning two days and not collapsed, and they say 9/11 was terrorists, my arse!

  18. It’s all very well to say “leave it for a while, it’s too soon” but the news is fast-paced and those responsible are hoping and praying that something else will come along to take our attention away. Pressure needs to be applied while the horror of it is still fresh in people’s minds.

  19. enqiry for what?
    To produce carbon copy report of so many fires in tower blocks clad this way worldwide again?
    Enquiry for what?
    To nod yes for years but do nothing again?
    Then we repeat this verse over and over forever the end.
    That is the clear message I have taken from the reaccurence of predicted event.

  20. Austerity kills ! be it in hospitals or housing or the disabled or the poor. It frightens me that so many millions voted twice for the tories. what has this country become

  21. Cameron and particularly George Osborne are to blame here, Osborne stuck to his policy of huge cuts to public spending without any thought of how the cuts effect everyday people.
    Austerity was the wrong policy for the UK, we have had 7 years of drastic cuts that have effected our Policing, Fire services and the NHS

    You will notice that these cuts do not effect in any way the lives of people like Cameron and Osbourne and their families. I want to see them BOTH questioned about this

  22. So The council did so well saving money on projects (£5,000 from that cladding), They gave a £100 council tax Rebate, but only to those able and fortunate enough to pay for council tax . At least nobody who works hard but still needs help paying council tax will choke spending that blood stained rebate.
    I’m guessing it’s the one rebate people will be rejecting or request in the council take from the next bill.

  23. Why have planning officers and building inspectors.They decide what is required and necessary. They agree on the project, they must of known of the fire assessment of the materials. The suppliers and installers will always look for a Quick return.

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