No 10 defends PM after Stormzy’s Grenfell freestyle at Brits

May didn’t see performance but said Grenfell tragedy should never be allowed to happen again

Downing Street has defended the prime minister after comments from Stormzy at the 2018 Brit awards, where the south London MC attacked Theresa May for her response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

The prime minister’s spokesman said the government had committed millions of pounds to the community in the aftermath of the blaze at the west London tower block that killed at least 71 people in June last year.

Closing his Brits performance with a freestyle performance, Stormzy asked: “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?” adding that the government “just forgot about Grenfell, you criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages. We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

The Downing Street spokesman said May had not watched the performance on Wednesday night and said he was not aware of any plans to reach out to Stormzy.

However, the spokesman said the prime minister would listen to anyone with concerns about how the funds allocated to survivors and community services were being spent.

“The PM has been clear that what happened at Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy, which should never be allowed to happen again,” Downing Street said. “She is determined the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been ignored for so many years.”

No 10 said £58.29m had been provided by the government so far in the aftermath of the fire, though the total sum was what had been committed, rather than what had been spent so far.

“If there are any concerns being raised about that, we will of course look at those,” the spokesman said. “Wherever there is more that can be done, we will look at that too.”

The sum included £28m announced in the budget for mental health and emotional support, £15m towards rehousing, £6m to survivors through the discretionary fund, £7.7m for the Bellwin scheme for emergency services to compensate them for the additional costs as a result of the disaster, and £2.2m for local community projects.

No 10 acknowledged there was still concern about the initial response to the fire and said that was something the public inquiry, led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, would examine.

“The prime minister did say that the initial response was too slow and that is something for the public inquiry to look at,” the spokesman said. “I’m not getting into responding to individual comments – I’m pointing out the gravity with which the PM is taking this.”

Stormzy has long been a supporter of the survivors of the fire and featured on a charity single to raise money for the victims.

At Glastonbury festival, the MC said he believed the official response had been weak and those responsible for the conditions that led to the tragedy had been left unpunished. “We urge the authorities to tell the fucking truth, first and foremost. We urge them to do something. We urge the fucking government to be held accountable for the fuckery, and we ain’t gonna stop until we get what we deserve,” he said.

Theguardian.com

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