The chairman of the Grenfell Tower inquiry is to seek assurances from the government that any evidence provided by employees of the cladding firms won’t be used against them in further criminal prosecutions prompting anger online.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick has written to the Geoffrey Cox QC – the attorney general – requesting that any evidence submitted by individuals responsible for the refurbishment of the 24-story block will not be used to incriminate them. 72 residents perished in the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.

Moore-Bick warned that if witnesses do not gain immunity then “they will be considerably less candid than would otherwise have been the case as a result of trying to avoid saying anything that might harm their position in the future.”

The move has infuriated many people online, with comments such as “disgraceful” and “vile” being attributed to the latest action undertaken in the second part of the inquiry – which has now been paused as a result.

Others branded the intervention as hypocritical and evidence of “double standards,” with the London Fire Brigade (LFB), including its former chief – Dany Cotton – having not sought “immunity” from any further criminal prosecutions against them.

Cotton resigned as commissioner of the LFB in December 2019 after receiving harsh criticism for her involvement in the tragedy. One person sarcastically tweeted: “Let’s blame the poor firemen and woman who actually went up the towering inferno.”

Gifs were also posted to express disapproval at the latest development, with some suggesting that it was a case of one rule for white people and another for brown-skinned people.

The London Metropolitan Police is carrying out its own investigation into possible crimes, ranging from gross negligence manslaughter and corporate manslaughter to health and safety offences.

Part one of the inquiry – published in October 2019 – focused specifically on the events of the night in question and was highly critical of senior fire brigade officers. It concluded that calling off the fire service’s ‘stay-put’ strategy earlier could have saved lives.

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(FILE PHOTO) Grenfell Tower, west London © AFP / Ben Stansall
Grenfell Tower fire errors: Fewer people would have died if fire service’s ‘stay-put’ strategy had been called off

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