Theresa May stumbles at PMQs as she’s accused of having ‘a stench of complacency’

Theresa May and Sarah Jones at PMQs
Emily Apple

Labour MP Sarah Jones accused Theresa May of having “a stench of complacency” at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 23 January. Jones questioned the PM over the delays in installing sprinklers and removing flammable cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire.

“A stench of complacency”

Jones reminded May of her promise after the fire that:

she would do whatever it takes to keep our people safe.

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Describing Grenfell as “the tip of the iceberg” she described the situation now, 19 months later:

85% of the hundreds of blocks draped in exactly the same highly flammable cladding are still covered… Thousands of council and private buildings across the country don’t have sprinklers despite the fire services saying they are essential.

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Jones also pointed out that:

the government doesn’t even collect data on the number of fires in tower blocks.

Before she really let rip on the government’s record and asked:

As the Prime Minister wastes billions on her No Deal gamble, there is a stench of complacency about these things that matter…When will the Prime Minister be able to tell this country that she has honoured her promise?

You can watch the question and May’s response in full here:

“All the compassion of reading out a shopping list”

May spluttered through her reply, losing her words on two occasions. Something that was noticed by social media users:

Another Twitter user summed up May’s response:

And as the union Unite put it:

People deserve better

72 people died in the Grenfell fire. In October 2018, 16 months after the fire, 151 families had still not been rehoused. May has also faced criticism from the petitions committee after she turned down a petition from survivors. It stated that she:

failed to acknowledge that the petition had been started by bereaved families and survivors, or to express any concern for their suffering and loss.

May’s words at PMQs are not only a further insult to survivors but deeply worrying to all those who are living in potential deathtraps. It’s not OK. Empty promises and platitudes are not enough. People want, need and deserve better.

Featured image via Twitter screenshot / BBC Politics

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