Grenfell Tower

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Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have welcomed the appointment of two new inquiry panel members as a step towards “truth and justice”.

Prof Nabeel Hamdi and architect Thouria Istephan will join Sir Martin Moore-Bick for the inquiry’s second phase.

Prime Minister Theresa May appointed the pair after pressure from a campaign group. She said she was “confident” in their “diversity of skills”.

Grenfell United said the task ahead of the panel was “immense”.

Phase one of the inquiry focused on the events of the night of 14 June 2017 in which 72 people died.

A report into the first stage of hearings was delayed because it was “far more complex and time-consuming” than anticipated.

Phase two, which is expected to start next year, will examine causes of the fire, including the use of cladding blamed for helping it to spread.

Grenfell United, the group of survivors and bereaved families that formed in the wake of the tower block fire, added: “We campaigned hard to secure a panel at our inquiry and thanks to support from 150,000 people across the country, today we’ve got one.”

“We fought for this because we are certain that, at every layer, this inquiry will uncover practises that led to the deaths of our loved ones and neighbours, and continue to put lives at risk,” it added.

It said it hoped Prof Hamdi and Ms Istephan, alongside chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will show “courage to speak truth to power and a commitment to deliver change”.

Prof Hamdi is an academic with an international reputation in housing and participatory design and planning. Ms Istephan is a partner at Foster + Partners architectural practice.

Mrs May said the appointments ensure the panel “has the diversity of skills and experience necessary for the scope and complexity of issues to be investigated”.

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