It's not right to talk about Theresa May's 'humanity', says Tory minister

Humanity – Mr Portillo accused the Prime Minister of failing to show any humanity during her visit to Grenfell Tower (Pictures: Getty)

A senior Cabinet minister has said it is not right to discuss whether Theresa May failed to show any humanity when she failed to meet survivors of the Grenfell tower disaster.

Andrea Leadsom was harangued in the street as she defended the Prime Minister from not meeting families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, which has left at least 30 people dead.

The Prime Minister has been widely criticised for speaking only to emergency workers during her private visit on Thursday, with former Conservative minister Michael Portillo saying she should have been willing to face residents’ anger.

Angry Grenfell residents confront Andrea Leadsom

He accused her of not showing humanity in the face of the tragedy.

Local people contrasted Mrs May’s appearance with that of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was seen with his arm round the shoulders of people affected by the disaster.

And today the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge met volunteers, local residents and community representatives while visiting Westway Sports Centre, near the charred remains of the building in west London.

The Queen meeting people affected by the tragedy on Friday (Rex)

Read more about the Grenfell Tower fire

Mrs Leadsom bore the brunt of people’s anger towards her leader. She was repeatedly told: “Meet the victims!” by those nearby.

One man said: “At least she (Theresa May) could’ve met the victims, Corbyn was a good man … he came and met the people.

“He didn’t come with a bunch of police … no one even saw her.

“This fire could have been stopped a long, long time ago… There’s not even sprinklers in there.

“In 2009, the last block was on fire. What has happened since then? Nothing. Enough is enough, I have got friends in that tower. We have a right to be angry. Because of people saving money, people are dying.”

The deadly blaze (Rex)

Mrs Leadsom responded: “The Prime Minister is doing everything she can. I’m sure if it’s felt that that would be helpful, she will do that, but at the same time there are some very practical needs that need to met here.”

“She came yesterday to look at the operation, to try to make sure that everything that can be done by the Government is done.

“The Prime Minister is absolutely heartbroken… The whole sense in the House of Commons is absolute horror and shock. I don’t really think it is appropriate to be talking about whether people have humanity or not.”

Police on Friday revised the death toll figure from  17 to at least 30.

Some have claimed that final toll could be above hundred.

Shortly after the confrontation, it was announced the Prime Minister would be meeting victims of the fire in hospital on Friday morning.

Mr Portillo told BBC’s This Week on Thursday night: “She should have been there with the residents, which is what Jeremy Corbyn was. She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn’t use her humanity.

Jeremy Corbyn at the disaster site (Rex)

“The Prime Minister would have been shouted at by the residents, but she should have been willing to take that.”

Hours after Mrs May’s private visit, Mr Corbyn made a trip to a church being used as a relief centre where he was photographed with his arm around the shoulders of some of those affected.

Mr Khan was heckled by frustrated crowds who swarmed around him during his visit to the scene.

It was announced on Friday that Mrs May would visit some of the victims in hospital later today.

 

 

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