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Grenfell Tower inquiry panel broadened in apparent U-turn

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The government has agreed that two experts will now sit with the judge investigating the Grenfell Tower fire, following pressure from campaigners. They had called for a diverse panel to oversee proceedings, saying the inquiry risked being a "whitewash".Theresa May said those appointed will have the "breadth of skills and diversity of expertise" to examine the reasons behind the disaster.The BBC's Tom Symonds said the decision marked a government U-turn.Judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick's inquiry will start hearing evidence this month.
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Inside the 21st floor of the Grenfell Tower fire
Survivors' groups had been urging the prime minister to bring in the panel to help oversee the inquiry.More than 156,000 people signed a petition calling for individuals from a range of backgrounds to sit alongside Sir Martin.The Grenfell United group said the change in the government's stance had come about after lots of hard work.The group, which represents survivors and the bereaved, said it would mean the inquiry could "get to the truth of why our community was not listened to when we raised concerns".Adel Chaoui, the Grenfell United spokesman who lost four relatives, said survivors were "relieved" by the announcement.He added: "This panel means that the inquiry will have the expertise it needs to get to the truth of why our community was not listened to when we raised concerns, why such a dangerous refurbishment could be allowed to go ahead and all the issues that led up to that awful night."
Skills and expertise
Mrs May had previously rejected calls for additional panel members.The blaze, which ripped through the high-rise building in west London on 14 June last year, killed 71 people.Downing Street said in a statement: "Today the prime minister has announced her decision to appoint an additional two decision-making members to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry panel."Given the scale and complexity of concerning issues that are emerging from the inquiry's early investigations, the prime minister has a continuing duty to ensure that the inquiry always has the skills and expertise it requires for the challenges that lie ahead."The announcement comes as MPs prepare for a Commons debate on the Grenfell fire on Monday.
Grenfell Tower fire
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