Stephen Lawrence's mother has been accused of making a "disgraceful and unfair slur" after claiming that firefighters tackling the Grenfell Tower blaze were racist.
Doreen Lawrence, whose 18-year-old son was murdered by a gang of racists in south-east London in 1993, said she has "no doubt" the response to the inferno that killed 72 people was motivated by racism.
"Had that been a block full of white people, they’d have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they did what they needed to do," she said, in an interview with Channel 4 News last week.
Her claims, strongly refuted by London Fire Brigade (LFB), were described as "misjudged and insulting" by the Police Federation's Chairman John Apter.
He wrote on Twitter: "A disgraceful and unfair slur on Firefighters who put their own lives on the line to save as many people as they could.
"It mattered not the colour of their skin, the Firefighters and all 999 colleagues did their very best.
"The only thing I saw from all the emergency services that night was bravery, compassion and emotion.
"To this day many suffer from what they saw, it’s shameful that such an accusation has been made."
Several other users said they respected 66-year-old Baroness Lawrence, who was made a Labour Life Peer in 2013, but felt her comments were "poisonous", "disgusting" and "appalling".
She spoke out after meeting Paulos Tekle, whose five-year-old son Isaac was killed in the fire in June 2017 after firefighters told his family to "stay put" in their flat.
Last week LFB called for the Government to carry out an urgent review of the controversial "stay put" policy, and London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton admitted it was not suitable for a building such as Grenfell.
The Grenfell Tower inquiry report, expected to be released later this month, is expected to severely criticise the brigade’s response to the tragedy.
Responding to Baroness Lawrence and Mr Tekle, the LFB's Deputy Commissioner Tom George said: “We absolutely refute the claims made by Baroness Doreen Lawrence that there was any aspect of racism in our response to the Grenfell Tower fire.
"Every single one of the firefighters and officers who responded to the fire that night was fully committed to rescuing as many people as possible and put their own lives at risk to do so.
“We fully respect the grief expressed by Mr Tekle. However, we are unable to respond to specific detailed claims about the night of the fire."
Baroness Lawrence has campaigned for victims of racist crimes since her son was stabbed to death in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22 1993.
To date, two people have been convicted over the murder, though detectives believe Mr Lawrence was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white men in the unprovoked racist attack.
Baroness Lawrence has been approached for comment.