New law to support victims of disasters such as Grenfell a ‘priority for Labour’

Grenfell Tower (PA Media)
Grenfell Tower (PA Media)

New laws guaranteeing legal advocates for victims of disasters such as the Grenfell fire would be a “priority” for a Labour Government, the party said on Wednesday.

Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed has renewed calls to ensure families impacted by future disasters are treated fairly during inquests and inquiries.

The £30million plan is backed by survivors of the Hillsborough tragedy, in which 97 people died.

Under the “Hillsborough Law”, victims and their families would be entitled to legal aid for representation in courts.

An independent representative would also be provided for bereaved families and public authorities would be required to sign up to a code of ethics to promote transparency during investigations.

It follows an apology from UK police forces last month for the “profound failings” in the aftermath of the 1989 disaster in Sheffield.

More than five years since the Hillsborough Inquiry was published, there is still no official government response.

A public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, is yet to deliver its final report.

But evidence submitted during the probe prompted Housing Secretary Michael Gove to admit there “was a system of regulation that was faulty” and the “government did not think hard enough, or police effectively enough, the whole system of building safety”.

Mr Reed said: “Labour stands unequivocally with the families and survivors of Grenfell. We must do everything within our power to prevent tragedies like this ever happening again.

“We’ve repeatedly called for the Hillsborough Law, and making it reality would be a priority of a Labour government to ensure that victims of major tragedies get the same legal representation as the authorities that failed them.”