First secretary of state Damian Green says criticism of Theresa May's response to Grenfell Tower fire is "terribly unfair"

 
Rebecca Smith
The Prime Minister met firefighters earlier this week
The Prime Minister met firefighters earlier this week (Source: Getty)

First secretary of state Damian Green has said criticism of Theresa May over her reaction to the Grenfell Tower fire was "terribly unfair", and said a government-led task force will be deployed to the scene today.

The Prime Minister has come under scrutiny for not meeting survivors when she first visited the scene, and was jeered when she returned to the Kensington site yesterday. May had made a private visit on Thursday to speak to police and firefighters, but was not seen speaking to any of the residents affected then.

Read more: Grenfell Tower fire: Sadiq Khan tells PM the community needs answers

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Green said suggestions the PM didn't have what it took to respond to such a tragedy were "terribly unfair".

"She's distraught by what happened as we all are," he said.

"I think she has done everything that could have been asked," Green added. "Listening to residents' concerns and, above all, acting on those concerns as quickly as possible."

The fire in West London in the early hours of Wednesday morning has resulted in 30 deaths, with the police warning that number may rise.

May has announced a £5m fund to meet the immediate needs of the victims, spanning clothes and food, as well as prioritising rehoming them.

Green, who was appointed first secretary of state in May's reshuffle post-election shock, announced a task force for the Grenfell Tower fire that would be made up of representatives of the council and central government.

He said the task force will be at the scene today "to answer questions".

May announced a full public inquiry into the disaster earlier this week and Green said today that the government expected to appoint a chairman to lead the inquiry "in days rather than weeks".

Read more: Police confirm 30 people died in Grenfell Tower fire, with more missing

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