Tories accuse Corbyn of “Marxism” after call to seize empty luxury homes for victims of tower block blaze

16th June, 2017 8:57 am

The political row over the Grenfell Tower fire intensified last night as Theresa May was criticised for failing to meet victims and Jeremy Corbyn was seen hugging residents.

Corbyn was attacked by Tory MPs yesterday after making a controversial call for the “requisition” of local empty luxury homes in Kensington – one of the richest boroughs in the country – to house survivors of the blaze.

At least 17 people have been confirmed dead in the disaster but firefighters have indicated the worst case scenario could be of between 50 and 100 fatalities.

Yesterday Corbyn published a statement in which he described Kensington as a “tale of two cities”, and called for residents to be rehoused, “using requisition of empty properties if necessary”.

He appears to have toughened his demands later, however, when he addressed a parliamentary debate and said: “The ward where the fire took place is, I think, the poorest ward in the whole country. And properties must be found, requisitioned if necessary, in order to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally. It cannot be acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept as land-banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live.”

The Tories sent persuaded one of their backbench MPs to attack Corbyn, with Andrew Bridgen dispatched to criticise the Labour leader.

“[Corbyn’s] calls to requisition private property when there is empty student accommodation available locally fits in with his hard Marxist views where all private property should belong to the state”.

Yesterday May was derided once again for her failure to interact with members of the public. She said the residents were “in our thoughts and prayers” and visited the scene, as well as announcing a public inquiry – but declined to meet people who lived in the tower. Her reaction prompted former Tory defence secretary Michael Portillo to say  “she wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn’t use her humanity”.

May is unlikely to survive as prime minister until even party conference season, he told BBC1’s This Week.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, also visited Grenfell Tower and met local people. He received a handful of boos and faced questions over the support being given to victims of the fire but some commentators pointed to the fact that he had bothered to engage with them directly, unlike May.

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