Grenfell Tower: Doreen Lawrence “reassured” race played no part in firefighters’ response

The campaigner had previously said that the fire brigade would have done more if the block was full of white people

REASSURED: Doreen Lawrence (Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

DOREEN LAWRENCE says she is “reassured” that race was not a factor in the Fire Brigades response to rescuing victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze and has apologised for saying it was.

Lady Lawrence met with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the London Fire Brigade (LFB) after an invitation from FBU general secretary Matt Wrack following her comments about their conduct.

Following the meeting, Lawrence retracted her claims and said she was sorry for “any upset caused”.

She tweeted: “I’ve met [the London Fire Brigade] and [the Fire Brigades Union]. I am reassured race played no part in their response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Learning about the conditions firefighters faced that night has been insightful, apologies for any upset caused. I’m confident how valued equality is to LFB and FBU.”

Lawrence faced calls to apologise for comments she made during an interview with Channel 4 News, which aired almost two weeks ago, in which she said that the firefighters’ response would have been different if the majority of the victims were white.

She said: “Had that been a block full of white people in there, they would have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they do what they needed to do.

“Nobody wanted to mention the word ‘race’ in the whole thing. [Because] when I saw the residents who lived in that block, to me it was under no doubt around the racism that existed at that time.”

Responding to the comments at the time, Wrack said: “Any suggestion that firefighters were motivated by racism is untrue and unjust. Firefighters put their own lives at risk throughout the fire – to save the lives of others.”

Lawrence’s apology comes as the first phase report of the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire is released.

In the report, which has been made public today, inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick describes the LFB’s preparation and planning for a fire such as the one at Grenfell Tower is described by inquiry as “gravely inadequate”.

Comments Form


  1. | Damien Toy

    She has made the claims..
    She has stood by those claims..
    Amazing back paddle turn on this with a “Piss poor” apology to those man and women.. of all races that tried, endeavoured to help people in a terrible tragedy.
    Having suffered a tragedy herself of losing a son in such a violent way, I would have thought that holding her tongue would’ve been far more appropriate a response.
    The victims families are going through hell trying to survive day to day. Those fire fighters,their families and all of the supporting factions that helped at Grenfell are suffering. They do not need some jumped up opinion stating racism. They were saving lives nothing was intentionally based upon loss of life. A very poor rebuke of her statement.


  2. | Julie Merrifeld

    Much too little too late, once the words are spoken you cannot take back the hurt.


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