A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
League One side AFC Wimbledon have appointed caretaker boss Glyn Hodges as their new permanent manager.
The ex-Wales midfielder, 56, has been in charge since Wally Downes was suspended by the club last month, after being charged by the Football Association over bets placed on games.
Downes left Wimbledon on Sunday, two days after being given a four-week FA suspension for admitting the charge.
Former Wimbledon player Hodges had been assistant to Downes at Kingsmeadow.
“To have been at Wimbledon as a young apprentice at 16 years of age, then to return and actually get the job, and now to have an opportunity to take the club back to Plough Lane, is what dreams are made of,” he said.
“I’m absolutely delighted and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve enjoyed the last month, it’s been fantastic. I will be giving it my all.”
Hodges won four of his six matches in temporary charge, with Wimbledon 21st in League One, one point from safety.
Until joining the club in December Hodges had worked under Mark Hughes at Wales, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City.
His only previous managerial stint came in an interim spell in charge of Barnsley, during the 2002-03 campaign.
“It feels fantastic, but I’ve got to pay tribute to Wally, as we go back a long way,” he added. “I’ve got to thank him for bringing me here to take this opportunity.”
Extinction Rebellion activists have launched legal action over the police’s decision to ban them from demonstrating anywhere in London.
Their lawyers submitted an application to the High Court for a judicial review which they hope will be heard later.
The claimants include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Baroness Jenny Jones, Labour MPs Clive Lewis and David Drew and writer George Monbiot.
There have been more than 1,600 arrests over the ongoing protests, police said.
The Metropolitan Police began clearing protesters from Trafalgar Square on Monday evening.
It followed the announcement of new restrictions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, which required activists to stop their protests in central London by 21:00 BST or risk arrest.
Any assembly of more than two people linked to the Extinction Rebellion action is now illegal in London.
The force said it decided to impose the rules after “continued breaches” of conditions which limited the demonstrations to Trafalgar Square.
Despite the ban, protesters plan to gather again in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday lunchtime.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is leading the policing of the demonstrations, said he was confident the Met’s decision was “entirely lawful” and “entirely proportionate”.
Officers would respond in a “balanced and proportionate” way towards anyone assembling in Trafalgar Square, he said, but added they would be “liable to arrest”.
‘Concern’ over ban
Extinction Rebellion argue the ban is disproportionate and an unprecedented curtailment of the right to free speech and free assembly.
The group hopes the High Court will quash the decision to implement the blanket ban.
Mothers and babies were among those defying the London-wide ban on Wednesday.
They staged a “feed-in” outside Google’s offices in London’s King’s Cross, aiming to highlight the company’s political donations to organisations that have campaigned against action on climate change.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said concerns had been raised about the police’s decision, adding that shadow home secretary Diane Abbott was discussing it with the police.
“I think it’s important to protect the right of free speech, and the right to demonstrate in our society – obviously in a non-violent way,” he said.
He added that Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan had no involvement in the “operational decision” by police to remove the protesters.
On Tuesday, Mr Khan said he was “seeking further information” about why the ban was necessary, saying he believed “the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld”.
A government spokesman said the UK was already taking “world-leading action to combat climate change as the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050”.
“While we share people’s concerns about global warming, and respect the right to peaceful protest, it should not disrupt people’s day-to-day lives,” he added.
What are the rules around protests?
Police have the powers to ban a protest under the Public Order Act 1986, if a senior officer has reasonable belief that it may cause “serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Police are also under a duty to balance the task of keeping the streets open with the right freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and freedom of expression, under Article 10. These rights are not absolute – the state can curtail them.
However, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “The test, if and when it gets to a human rights court battle, is whether police action was proportionate to the threat and only what was strictly necessary.”
By law, the organiser of a public march must tell the police certain information in writing six days in advance.
Police have the power to limit or change the route of the march or set other conditions.
A Section 14 notice issued under the Public Order Act allows police to impose conditions on a static protest and individuals who fail to comply with these can be arrested.
A drug dealer has been jailed for stabbing a police officer who tried to apprehend him in a park in Portsmouth.
PC Russell Turner, 56, suffered a collapsed lung after being stabbed twice by Michael Enzanga in February.
Enzanga, 20 was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a knife and drugs offences following a trial in August.
He was jailed for 16 years and ordered serve at least two thirds before consideration for parole.
Prosecutor Dale Sullivan said the case was made more serious because the stabbing took place near to a nursery, and because it was against a police officer.
In an emotional statement, PC Turner told the court on Wednesday he felt anger towards Enzanga for leaving him lying in his “own blood”.
“Most of all I can never forgive him for the upset, pain and emotional trauma he caused my family,” said PC Turner.
‘Thinking all sorts’
“On the day I was stabbed my wife was at home and my sergeant knocked on the door and told her what happened.
“During that half hour car journey her mind was thinking all sorts, wondering if I was going to live.”
A father-of-two, PC Turner was not able to return to work for 10 weeks and has now left Hampshire Constabulary.
During the trial jurors heard how PC Turner was stabbed during a “full-on fight” with Enzanga while investigating reports of drug dealing in Stamshaw Park.
The plain clothes officer got out his warrant card out and identified his colleague and himself as police officers when Enzanga tried to run away and the struggle broke out.
‘Hiding under tarpaulin’
His colleague PC Clare Parry broke down in tears as she described Enzanga as like a “caged animal fighting for his life”.
After the stabbing, Enzanga fled in the direction of a block of flats but was seen by members of the public and on CCTV carrying a knife before being Tasered by officers.
He was eventually found hiding under a tarpaulin in a back garden with the barbs from the Taser still lodged in his back.
Enzanga, of Ashfield Road, Tottenham, was also convicted of four charges of possessing crack cocaine and diamorphine (heroin) with intent to supply, and a charge of possessing criminal property in the form of £1,000 in cash.
The sight of Jason Donovan in his underpants tackling a fire was certainly a surprise for one crew of firefighters.
Officers called to Notting Hill, London came across the Australian actor and singer tackling the fire with an extinguisher.
Donovan, 51, who lives across the road spotted the flames from his home.
The London Fire Service quipped, “everyone needs good neighbours”.
On social media the artist posted his views on his firefighting attire:
Watch manager Thomas Wolfe explained: “When we arrived a gentleman was tackling the fire using a fire extinguisher. We took over from him and quickly dealt with the blaze.
“It soon transpired that it was Jason Donovan who noticed the fire from his property over the road.”
Asked if the good “neighbour” would get a commendation, the watch commander quipped: “He looks good for his age.”
The fire, on 22 September, was located in the side passage next to a house and was believed to have been caused by a fault in electrical cabling.
A man stabbed to death at a London Underground station was an Arsenal fan on his way to a match.
Tashan Daniel, 20, was fatally wounded in an “unprovoked attack” on the platform at Hillingdon station on Tuesday shortly before 16:00 BST.
He had been heading to the Emirates Stadium to see the Gunners face Nottingham Forest in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
It is the third murder investigation on the Tube network this year.
A spokesman for the Premier League club said: “Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Arsenal fan Tashan Daniel.
“Our thoughts are with Tashan’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Mr Daniel, who had recently celebrated his birthday, was on the platform waiting for a Piccadilly Line train into central London when he was attacked by two men, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
Attempts were made to save Mr Daniel who was pronounced dead inside a Tube carriage.
Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said no arrests had been made, but both suspects left the station in the direction of Auriol Drive and a knife was recovered nearby.
“Tashan did not deserve to lose his life during this senseless attack,” he said.
“His family are completely broken by this news and we are doing everything we can to offer them support.”
Extra officers are going to be carrying out patrols in the Hillingdon area, Det Ch Insp Blackburn added.
Danielle Foster, who was driving past Hillingdon station at the time of the stabbing, said upon “hearing so many sirens, I knew something terrible had happened”.
“Lots of people were being turned away from the station as it had been closed,” she said, adding: “Then the police helicopter began circling the scene.”
The station was closed by Transport for London (TfL) while police searched the area.
It remained closed for the rest of Tuesday evening and reopened at 05:45 on Wednesday.
So far in 2019 more than 100 murder investigations have been launched across London by the Metropolitan Police and BTP.
Boris Johnson has refused six times to address claims he failed to declare a potential conflict of interest in how money was given to a US businesswoman while he was London mayor.
The Sunday Times said Jennifer Arcuri joined trade missions he led and was given £26,500 of public money.
She told the paper it was part of her role as a legitimate businesswoman.
The newspaper also claimed she was awarded a £100,000 government grant earlier this year.
Labour has said Mr Johnson must give a full account of his actions, but pressed by journalists during a flight to New York, the now-prime minister refused to comment.
Ms Arcuri, a technology entrepreneur, is thought to have moved to London seven years ago.
The Sunday Times reported that one of her businesses received £10,000 and £1,500 in sponsorship money from a mayoral organisation when Mr Johnson was in office, and a £15,000 government grant for foreign entrepreneurs to build businesses in Britain.
The newspaper also said Ms Arcuri got a £100,000 grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year.
The grant was intended for “English-based” businesses – although she had moved back to the US in June 2018.
The Sunday Times said it had found the registered address on the grant application form was a rented house in the UK and no longer connected to her.
The government has confirmed to the BBC it is investigating, but said the funds were awarded to a UK-registered company.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was “perfectly normal” for entrepreneurs to join trade missions, aimed at promoting British businesses overseas.
He told the BBC: “British companies and entrepreneurs go on trade missions. It’s quite right and proper and I’m sure that’s exactly what’s happened there.”
The current London Mayor, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, said he has ordered City Hall officials to look into the allegations.
Journalists asked Mr Johnson about the allegations when travelling with him to the UN General Assembly in New York.
The PM – who was London mayor between 2008 and 2016 – told reporters he was there to “talk about what we’re doing in the UN and this country’s commitment to tackle climate change”, as well as “the crisis in the Gulf and any other issues that may arise”.
Asked again, he replied: “I’m here to talk exclusively about the work of the UN.”
Ms Arcuri was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: “Any grants received by my companies and any trade mission I joined were purely in respect of my role as a legitimate businesswoman.”
Who is Jennifer Arcuri?
The woman at the centre of this story is Jennifer Arcuri, who describes herself on Twitter as an entrepreneur, cyber security expert and producer.
She began her career as a DJ on Radio Disney, before moving into film – where she wrote, produced and directed a short film that went on to be sold at Cannes Film Festival.
Ms Arcuri then brought in her tech skills to create a streaming platform for independent film makers.
But it was her founding of The Innotech Network in London that saw her path cross with Boris Johnson.
The network hosts events to discuss tech policy, and Mr Johnson was the keynote speaker at the first of those in 2012.
Since then, Ms Arcuri has also founded another company called Hacker House, which uses ethical hackers to find tech solutions for businesses.
James Maddison’s first league goal of the season helped Leicester come from behind to beat Tottenham in an absorbing encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Maddison drilled a superb low effort into the far corner from distance to lift Brendan Rodgers’ side back into the top four of the Premier League at the visitors’ expense.
Ricardo Pereira had put the Foxes back on level terms, moments after Spurs had been denied a second goal when Serge Aurier’s low drive was disallowed for a marginal offside call against Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane’s fourth league goal of the season had given Spurs the lead in the first half, the England striker slotting Son’s clever flick beyond Kasper Schmeichel despite being knocked off balance by Foxes defender Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester thought they had opened the scoring themselves when Wilfred Ndidi scored on the rebound after Paulo Gazzaniga spilled Youri Tielemans’ effort, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
Tightest of VAR calls denies Spurs
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accused his players of “lacking fight” after they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the Champions League midweek.
The result mirrored their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal in their previous away league game, with Kane admitting after Wednesday’s Group B opener that Spurs had failed to learn from recent mistakes.
Pochettino made six changes to the team that started in Greece, with Hugo Lloris unavailable due to his wife giving birth and Dele Alli left out of the squad altogether. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Eric Dier all had to settle for places on the bench.
Perhaps as a result, the visitors looked disjointed in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind when Ndidi’s effort was chalked off.
There was nothing fortunate about Kane’s opener 13 minutes later, however.
The England striker managed to latch on to Son’s back-heel and despite losing his balance under Soyuncu’s challenge, he somehow managed to knock the ball past Jonny Evans before lifting it over Schmeichel into the far corner.
Spurs thought they had doubled their lead when Aurier drilled a powerful drive into the far corner, but Son was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Buoyed by that narrow decision, Leicester threw bodies forward and restored parity through Pereira, before Maddison struck with five minutes remaining to extend Spurs’ winless league run away from home to nine games.
Leicester prove top-six credentials
After watching the Foxes slip to their first defeat of the campaign at Old Trafford last weekend, Leicester fans were hopeful that their team could continue their impressive home form against a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable on their travels of late.
They had lost their last three meetings with Tottenham in the Premier League prior to today’s game, but this latest performance provided further compelling evidence that Rodgers’ team can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish this season.
Maddison was heavily involved early on, the 22-year-old curling an effort narrowly off target from the edge of the box before firing straight at Gazzaniga from a tight angle after twisting and turning to find room for the shot.
Rodgers’ side did not let their heads drop after falling behind, with Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy both going close to equalising before Pereira’s strike midway through the second half.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, Maddison collected Hamza Choudhury’s pass before firing low into the bottom corner from a central position – all in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The result was no less than Maddison and his team-mates deserve and lifts the Foxes – temporarily at least – to second in the Premier League.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)
VAR takes centre stage – the stats
- There were two goals disallowed by VAR in this match, while no other game in the Premier League in 2019-20 has had more than one chalked off.
- Tottenham have failed to win three consecutive away Premier League games when they were leading at half-time for the first time since March 2008.
- Leicester have suffered just one defeat in their last nine Premier League home games (W6 D2), after losing four in a row directly before that.
- Tottenham are without a win in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W0 D2 L7) – they last had a longer winless away run between April and December 2006 (10).
- Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira scored his third goal in 41 Premier League appearances – all three have come at the King Power Stadium.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 13 games in all competitions against Leicester, four more than he has versus any other side in his professional career.
- Since the start of last season, Kane has scored 13 Premier League away goals, more than any other player in this period.
- Leicester’s James Maddison ended a run of 31 shots in the Premier League without a goal, since netting versus Huddersfield in April.
- Spurs’ Son Heung-min has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances versus Leicester (4 goals, 3 assists).
Leicester travel to Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 24 September (19:45 BST), while Spurs visit Colchester United at the same time.
The Only Way Is Essex star Lewis Bloor has denied conspiring to defraud investors in an alleged £3m diamond scam.
The 29-year-old appeared alongside six other men at Southwark Crown Court where he pleaded not guilty to dishonestly marketing coloured diamonds for investment purposes.
Four of his co-defendants also denied conspiracy to defraud.
A trial has been set for 1 September next year.
Mr Bloor, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, appeared in the ITV2 show for three years from 2013 as well as Celebrity Big Brother in 2016.
He sat in the dock with his co-defendants Joseph Jordan, 26, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, George Walters, 27, from Beckenham, south-east London, Max Potter, 22, of Enfield, north London, and Nathan Wilson, 25, of Brentwood, Essex, who all also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Simon Akbari, 25, from Loughton, Essex, did not enter a plea to the same charge.
Another co-defendant, 52-year-old Danny Chappell, of Bexleyheath, south-east London, denied a charge of seeking money for completing renovation works which had not been undertaken, which is alleged to have taken place on 31 May 2014.
A hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month heard there were 50 victims of the alleged fraud with “in excess” of £3m lost between 17 May 2013 and 19 June 2014.
Two more boys have been charged with murdering a teenager who was stabbed to death next to a London chicken shop.
Josiph Beker, 17, was attacked outside a KFC on Edgware Road at about 14:00 BST on 10 September.
Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court charged with murder. They were remanded in custody to next appear at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
Two other 16-year-old males were also previously charged with murder.
An 18-year-old who was previously arrested over the attack has been bailed pending further inquiries, the Met Police said.