RE: Resignation of Michael Clarke by Mahad Egal

Dear Barry Quirk,

Re: Resignation of Michael Clarke

My name is Mr Mahad Egal, I am a survivor of 15 Grenfell Tower and I am calling for the immediate resignation of Michael Clarke.

It has come to my attention that Michael Clarke is the Director of Communications & Community Engagement at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.​ ​

I am deeply concerned of the remit of his role at RBKC with obvious sensitivities this requires, given his previous appointment as​ ​Head of Press for the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. This concern is further compounded by his previous role as interim Chief Media spokesman for First Secretary of State Damian Green and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, and I suggest his position is untenable.

Given your role as Town Clerk with oversight and direct responsibility for your subordinates at RBKC, this also raises​ ​alarms about your approach to governing RBKC, moving from the consultation model to a community-led one.

I know that Mr Clarke began his assignment with RBKC in September 2017
at the time he was shown the impact that the lack of effective communications and community engagement has had, the erosion of trust between RBKC and residents was outlined clearly along with an indication of what was needed to effect change. Given Mr Clarke’s remit included these key areas it is obvious that he has consistently failed in his responsibilities and despite repeated warnings, officers maintained a lofty distance from the community and this only increased the suffering and confusion caused initially by RBKC’s disastrous first response on 14th June.

It is reasonable in any professional setting for individuals who consistently underperform to be held accountable for their poor performance. The community has seen no evidence that Mr Clarke has either been reminded of the responsibilities assigned to his position and salary or has himself proactively enacted improvements following repeated contestations from members of the community and various public servants. His position has long been untenable, a view confirmed by the revelations at the last Grenfell Scrutiny Meeting.

Seven months into the recovery of the worst fire in London since World War Two; Mr Clarke and his team presented a community engagement paper that presented a mixture of weak theory, with no evidence of action, meaningful objectives or indeed any indication of actual achievement.

Immediately after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Mr Clarke was responsible for hiding the ‘Grenfell Tower Tragedy’ on page 7 of the local ‘Royal Borough’ paper. It is widely acknowledged that the Grenfell Tower Fire has changed the lives of those who live in North Kensington forever, it is, therefore, inconceivable that this was not published on the front page of the paper and presents the first attempt of a ‘cover-up’.

I am deeply saddened by Mr Clarke’s decisions and have no confidence in his future decisions. Survivors of Grenfell Tower are currently suffering from a lack of communication from RBKC, and this is jeopardising the future of the local community. The failure of Mr Clarke to engage with the community has unveiled his intentions of covering up the tragedy. I would, therefore, like to call for the immediate resignation of Michael Clarke.

Please note that a petition calling for the resignation of Michael Clarke will be in circulation following this email.


Mahad Egal

ITN Broadcast with Stephen Mackenzie, Fire Expert and Judy Bolton, Resident of Kensal House

On Thursday evening, ITN broadcast a report on Fire Safety in RBKC.

Rags Martel speaks with Stephen Mackenzie, a Fire Safety Expert and Judy Bolton, a resident of Kensal House on the ongoing failures of the Council and KCTMO.

“Panel – We Shall Overcome: The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power”

This week commemorates 46 years since the Bogside Massacre, often referred to as Bloody Sunday – in which British Soldiers killed unarmed civilians.

A week of talks, events and open mic sessions concludes today with a march, which has become Ireland’s “largest annual human rights event”.

Joe Delaney, a Grenfell Survivor and member of the Grenfell Action Group, spoke on a panel, named “We Shall Overcome: The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power”. He spoke alongside Becky Shah of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Suresh Grover of the London-based Monitoring Group and Stafford Scott, co-founder of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign in 1985, who is now a consultant on racial equality & community engagement.

Bloody Sunday 2018

J4G’s Response to the ‘Chairman’s Response to Submissions made on 11th-12 December 2017’

The Grenfell Inquiry Chairman has today written to all core participants responding to the issues that were raised at the Procedural Hearing on 11 and 12 December.

The main outstanding issue is that Sir Martin declined to recommend to PM Theresa May that panel members with equitable decision-making powers should be appointed alongside him.

He stated,

‘I am and must remain completely independent of the government and in my view it would be wrong for me to take the initiative by advising the Prime Minister either to appoint additional members to the panel or not to do so. That must be a matter for her own judgment, free of any unsolicited advice from me. If proposals were made to expand the panel, I should, of course, consider them carefully and with an open mind, but unless and until that occurs, I must refrain from comment.’

J4G continues to call on the Prime Minister to urgently make these appointments as a step to building community trust and confidence in the Inquiry.

Other Key points in the response include:-

  • Lawyers representing Grenfell families ‘may’ be allowed to question witnesses directly, the chairman of the public inquiry into the fire.
  • Ministers, town hall chiefs and company bosses will be told to identify their Grenfell Tower responsibilities amid worries that the inquiry could be hampered by a “culture of denial”.
  • An expert in tenant management will draw up a report and give evidence amid claims that “little heed was paid” by the authorities to warnings by Grenfell residents about the fire risk.
  • Exploring assistance such as travel, childcare and refreshment costs for victims’ families and survivors to attend hearings in central London. No local venue in Kensington has been secured for future hearings. This was requested at the procedural hearings.
  • Documents will be disclosed in “sensible tranches” but not all the raw information submitted will be made available to core participants, with some papers redacted. The inquiry may receive 270,000 documents.
  • Local residents will be ‘consulted’ on setting up a “consultative panel” to promote a “sense of engagement” and build confidence in the inquiry.


If you’d like to read the Chairman’s full response, please click here: The Chairman’s Response to Submissions made on 11 – 12 December 2017


Petition: Create a Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy

A petition has been created by Clarrie Mendy. Please read details the below:

The Bishop’s review of Hillsborough families’ experiences recommends the creation of a Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy. The Government must implement this recommendation. This petition was started by bereaved relatives of family members who perished in the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Charter will include commitments by public bodies to change in relation to transparency and acting in the public interest. By adopting this, the Government will show that it has learned the lessons of the Hillsborough disaster and ensure that the perspective of bereaved families is never lost. We’re concerned that the Grenfell public inquiry isn’t taking into account the views of bereaved families, survivors, and local community affected. They can be spared the indignities, pain and suffering Bishop James Jones describes in his report as “The Patronising disposition of unaccountable power”.

To sign the petition, click here: Create a Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy


As some people are unable to attend the Silent March on Thursday 14th December, to show solidarity, support and unity, we ask that you join us in marking ‘6 Months’ by following these instructions:

  1. Please light a candle on the 14th December 2017.
  2. On a piece of paper, write ‘#ACandle4Grenfell’ and any other message or words you may want to share.
  3. Then take a photo of your message and post it on social media with the hashtags #ACandle4Grenfell & #SilentWalk
  4. Don’t forget to share your photo with Grenfell United (@grenfellunited) & Still I Rise GT (@Still_I_Rise_GT) on Twitter

“Grenfell – The Fight For Justice” by Brian Richardson

I vividly remember the June 14th 2017. I was working from home and the sun was flooding into my 6th floor flat on a beautiful, bright sunny day. In the adjoining block a mixed group of elders were enjoying a summer party.  I was impressed that the entertainer was able to switch effortlessly from Frank Sinatra to Bob Marley songs and judging by the smells wafting up, jerk chicken was being served up. These were the sights, sounds and smells of multicultural London at its best.

Just 8 miles away however a nightmare was unfolding. Grenfell Tower was still aflame. That morning I watched my friend Moyra Samuels explaining on BBC News how she watched the fire  spreading from her flat nearby on Bramley Road.  Over the course of 60 hours the homes of hundreds of people was transformed into a blackened tomb. The deaths of dozens of people was a consequence of the contempt that the rich and powerful leaders of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have for the real multicultural London that Grenfell encapsulated.

In the minutes, hours, days and months since the first flame took hold we have seen the best of humanity. The way in which young black and Muslim men – so often maligned, marginalised and criminalised – struggled alongside firefighters to rescue and comfort residents was an example of the best. The way in which neighbours and friends rallied round, offering food, shelter, clothing and counselling is another. The impromptu memorial space and meeting spot by the Maxilla is a place of comfort and solidarity. The monthly Silent Marches are heartwarming, whilst the love and respect that was on display over Carnival weekend was inspirational.

But Grenfell also exposed the worst of humanity. Even before the tragedy, the contempt with which the council ignored those who demanded refurbishments was a disgrace.  The contempt with which they locked the town hall doors on those demanding answers in the days after was sheer cowardice and the subsequent sluggishness with which they have addressed people’s housing needs is an outrage. Meanwhile those sections of the media who are more interested in discrediting the fight for justice with stories about opportunists and bandwagon jumpers have brought shame upon their profession.

At the opening of the public inquiry I was, frankly disgusted by the arrogant expectation that those who had lost loved ones should rise to their feet in deference when Sir Martin Moore-Bick entered the room. He then strode out of the room immediately after delivering his opening address without allowing a single question to be asked.

That inquiry is only happening because the bereaved, local residents and their supporters have made it crystal clear that they want answers. I will never forget the angry and anguished calls for justice at the first community meeting I attended on the Saturday after the fire. Labour MP David Lammy whose family friend, 24 year old artist Khadija Saye, died in the fire was among those demanding corporate manslaughter charges.

What justice can this inquiry deliver? Families have been broken and lives lost forever.  There is an genuine fear among many that Moore-Bick’s deliberations will simply be a whitewash which will exonerate the guilty. This is an understandable concern and one which has been exacerbated by his refusal to appoint local residents or Black and Minority Ethnic people to the inquiry’s expert advisory panel. Nor has he granted core participant status to well rooted local activists and campaigns such as J4G.

A whitewash is by no means a foregone conclusion however.  Moreover we owe it to those who have died and to everyone who lives in tower blocks and social housing to fight for an outcome that exposes the truth, first and foremost about Grenfell, but also about the social cleansing that is such a repugnant feature of this divided country.

Moreover, we have allies who know how to fight for a modicum of justice. 2017 is also notable for the announcement that three former senior South Yorkshire police officers, that force’s then lawyer and the then secretary and safety officer of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club are now facing trial over the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans at the 1989 FA Cup semi final. Why, because of the determination of the families and friends of the dead who formed the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and fought through thick and thin for 28 years.

The other great justice campaign of our times was the one waged by the family of Stephen Lawrence. Not only did it reveal the insensitive and incompetent police investigation into the black teenager’s murder in 1993, it also exposed the institutional racism that infects wider British society.

The families remained at the heart of these campaigns, but they sought and received the support of the wider community. Sympathetic investigative journalists helped keep their stories in the spotlight and they engaged lawyers who were fearless and adopted a community based approach to the legal proceedings.

The Grenfell justice campaign has already achieved a huge amount. The inquiry was announced within months, no doubt due to the public outcry.  The Hillsborough Justice Campaign, key trade unions such as the Fire Brigades Union, MPs, community campaigners and radical lawyers have  pledged their support and provided practical assistance.

The challenge in the year ahead will be to galvanise that support and ensure that we achieve an outcome that will be a fitting testament to those who perished, a comfort to those who survived and a safeguard for the future.

Brian Richardson is a barrister at Nexus Chambers, the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC.