Housing

Exclusive: Michael Gove vows to help Grenfell victims bring criminal charges

The housing secretary told The Big Issue those responsible for the devastating fire behaved in an "incredibly reckless and selfish" way and deserve to face prosecution.

A protester holds a sign saying 'justice for Grenfell'. Michael Gove has vowed to help victims bring prosecutions.

Housing secretary Michael Gove says those responsible for the Grenfell tragedy deserve to face criminal charges.

Housing secretary Michael Gove has pledged to help Grenfell survivors bring criminal proceedings against those responsible for the devastating fire.

Speaking to The Big Issue, Gove, head of the housing brief in Westminster, said he was “totally” committed to helping bring legal or other help.

“There’s a debate that goes on about whether or not the rules were perfectly clear or insufficiently clear,” he said of rules around building safety that led to the fire in 2017. “I think they were insufficiently clear, but that doesn’t let people off the hook for doing terrible things. The decision about whether there should be criminal prosecution is for the CPS after the police have made a case. I can’t tell the police to prosecute that person, to go after them.

“But I will do everything to help the police and the CPS and the bereaved and the survivors to go after the people responsible. Because to my mind, and I hope I’m not prejudicing anything, there’s a clear case that people behaved in a way that was so incredibly reckless and selfish that they deserve to face criminal proceedings.”

This marks the first time a senior government official has committed to help in this way. Grenfell campaigners have been calling for some time for the police to accelerate their criminal investigation into the fatal fire and help deliver justice for the 72 people who lost their lives.

Last week, on the fifth anniversary of the fire, campaigners reiterated their call for charges to be brought. To date, the Metropolitan police have insisted they will wait until the ongoing enquiry into the fire is completed. That enquiry has talked of a “merry-go-round of buck passing” over those responsible for faults that led to the fire.

See next week’s Big Issue for a full interview with Michael Gove.

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