Thatcher and Blair sowed the seeds of Grenfell Tower tragedy, says Ken Livingstone

'The impact of Jeremy Corbyn in the election has made people turn away from Thatcherite and Blairite nonsense', says Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone thinks Jeremy Corbyn has had a big impact

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has told talkRADIO that the Grenfell Tower tragedy can be traced back to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, specifically their watering down of building regulations.

The fallout from the Grenfell fire continues, with an inquiry set up under Sir Martin Moore-Bick. The inquiry has faced fierce criticism ever since it was announced, with critics suggesting that its terms of reference are too narrow and Moore-Bick is the wrong person to lead it.

Livingstone, appearing on George Galloway's show, agreed that the terms of reference should be much wider, as "the person you appoint to do this must be free to roam over everything," probing all areas of the tragedy.

He continued by saying the tragedy was years in the making, telling George: "Apparently, two years before you and I got elected to Parliament, the Thatcher government reduced the strength of the regulation. Up until then it was illegal to put any cladding on that was combustible. She reduced that regulation.

"Shamefully Blair carried on with that policy of 'regulations damage our business' and all of that, and the simple fact is that those regulations are key to actually saving people's lives.

"If you water them down then dodgy firms will think 'we can make a bit more money here' and they do."

Livingstone also said that, as mayor, he oversaw the development of London's Olympic facilities without a single person dying - demonstrating the benefits of a rigorous approach to safety. 

George, meanwhile, said the tragedy vindicates his and Livingstone's view that Labour's policy of slashing red tape was hugely dangerous, and said Grenfell "was an event not just predictable, but predicted."

Turning to Jeremy Corbyn, Livingstone said "the impact of Jeremy's election and the real resurgence of a genuine Labour party [is that] people are ready to turn their back on Thatcherite and Blairite nonsense."

While claiming the bulk of Labour MPs back Corbyn, Livingstone said there is a small "embittered group of old Blairties who really bought into the Thatcher nonsense and all that and they would still love to get rid of Jeremy [Corbyn]."

Listen to the full interview above