- Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick is facing a growing calls to quit as chairman
- Labour’s new fire spokesman Chris Williamson said he should go should go
- But Jeremy Corbyn does not back the calls for Sir Martin’s resignation
- Lord Chancellor David Lidington defended the appointment amid blacklash
Labour’s position on the Grenfell inquiry chairman was plunged into chaos today when the party’s fire spokesman defied Jeremy Corbyn to demand he is sacked.
Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick is facing a growing clamour to quit amid accusations that his privileged background will leave him unable to ’empathise’ with victims.
Labour’s fire spokesman Chris Williamson – who was promoted to the frontbench just 24 hours ago – said the retired judge should go.
But his outspoken intervention puts him at loggerheads with his own party leader who does not back the call for Sir Martin to be dismissed.
A Labour source said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has not called for him to go, but has called for a two-part inquiry, transparency and the full involvement of residents.’
A growing number of Labour MPs have demanded that someone else is appointed to take over the inquiry into the fatal blaze, which killed at least 80 people.
And Mr Williamson added his voice to the growing chorus of criticism.
He said Sir Martin had ‘come down on the side of the establishment’ in some previous rulings.
Mr Williamson told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘As I understand it, the survivors of this appalling tragedy don’t want him to continue and have called for his resignation.
He said their views had been ‘ignored for years and years’ and added: ‘It’s really important the Government listens now and puts someone in place that the community has confidence in.’
There is a growing row over Sir Martin’s appointment to lead the probe, with victims and lawyers representing residents also hitting out at the choice.
And their local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad saoid he would like empathy and demanded he is replaced with ‘someone who can understand humans’
While Labour MP David Lammy, who lost a friend in the fatal blaze, has hit out at the decision to appoint a white upper middle class man to lead the probe.
Ms Dent Coad complained that Sir Martin would not be able to show ’empathy’ for those caught up in the disaster because he did not share their background.
‘How anybody like that could have empathy for what those people have been through, I don’t understand’, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘A technocrat is really not what we need right now. We need someone who can understand human beings and what they’ve been through.’