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Jacob Rees-Mogg apologises after suggesting Grenfell victims lacked 'common sense'

Rees-Mogg made the comments during an interview with LBC.

Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at Downing Street earlier today.
Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at Downing Street earlier today.
Image: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

SENIOR TORY MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has apologised after suggesting that it would have been “common sense” for the residents of Grenfell Tower to ignore the advice of firefighters to ‘stay put’. 

“I profoundly apologise,” he said. “What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time. However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone else would.”

“I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments,” he added.

In an interview with LBC, Rees-Mogg, who is the Leader of the House of Commons and a member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, said: “The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.”

“And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building, it just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”

A report published last month found that the cladding on the tower was the “principal” reason for the rapid spread of the fire that caused the tragedy in 2017 in which 72 people died. 

The inquiry also found that more people might have been saved if the London fire brigade had not stuck to is ‘stay put’ strategy as it tried to put out the blaze. 

The comments from Rees-Mogg had prompted widespread criticism as parties across the UK are campaigning ahead of the December general election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had called on Rees-Mogg to apologise this morning. 

“What possesses someone to react to an entirely avoidable tragedy like Grenfell by saying the victims lacked common sense?” he said. 

“People were terrified, many died trying to escape.”

Rees-Mogg, who had been one of the leading voices backing Brexit before the referendum in 2016, has had a controversial career as a parliamentarian and a minister.

Back in April, he was forced to defend his decision to share a video of a speech by a senior member of Germany’s far-right political party. 

With reporting from Press Association

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