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Grenfell Tower: I ‘regret’ my reaction, says Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will “always regret” not meeting the residents of Grenfell Tower in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had very different visits to the site of the blaze
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had very different visits to the site of the blaze

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mrs May said she understood her actions may have made it appear she “didn’t care”.

Ahead of Thursday’s one-year anniversary, she said she wanted to make clear that was “never the case”.

A total of 72 people died as a result of the blaze, the judge-led inquiry into the fire has said.

This includes Maria Del Pilar Burton, 74, who died in January. She had been in hospital since she was rescued from the 19th floor.

Mrs May said it was “clear” that the initial response to the disaster was “not good enough”, adding: “I include myself in that.”

Theresa May visited Grenfell Tower the day after the fire but did not meet survivors
She continued: “What I did not do on that first visit was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze.

“But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair.

“And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn’t care.”

The public inquiry into the fire is currently paused for a week of memorials and vigils to mark the anniversary.

Members of the north Kensington community will come together for a 24-hour vigil on the eve of the anniversary.

At 1:30 BST on Thursday, the names of the fire’s victims will be read out at the nearby St Clement’s church.

At midday on the day of the anniversary, survivors and the bereaved will gather close to the tower’s base to observe a minute’s silence.

In a show of solidarity, 12 tower blocks in the surrounding area will be illuminated in green.

The buildings, plus Grenfell, will be lit up from 00:54 on Thursday – the time the fire is thought to have started – until 5:00. For the following four evenings they will be illuminated from dusk until midnight.

The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in “Green for Grenfell”, a day to “celebrate the spirit of people coming together”. – BBC