Councillor warned about escape routes from Grenfell Tower in 2009, inquiry hears

A worried councillor tried to raise concerns about how people might escape from a fire at the Grenfell Tower after a fatal blaze in a different housing block in 2009, a public inquiry has heard. Damning Local councillor Judith Blakeman outlined her fears in an email to Robert Black who was the chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) from 2009 to December 2017, and to director of housing Laura Johnson a day after a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, on July 3 2009 in which six people died. In the email Blakeman spoke of her fears that…

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Activist insider compares spycops to ‘headless chickens’ as inquiry continues

An activist insider has told The Canary that Britain’s political police, from the late 60s onwards, were out of control. For the last three decades, officers known as ‘spycops’ were “running around like headless chickens”. This follows recently released police files and testimonies to the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI). Anti-apartheid protesters targeted In a 2003 report, undercover officer (UCO) Mark Kennedy described peer and former Labour government minister  Peter Hain as a “South African Terrorist”. It was pure fabrication. Hain moved to the UK from South Africa. For three decades, he was a leading figure in the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM). And he was also a founder member of…

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Government has ‘no capacity’ now for inquiry, bereaved families told

The Government has “no capacity” at present to launch a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it has told bereaved families. In a six-page letter, the government Legal Department told families that an inquiry “now is not appropriate”, and people who would need to give evidence are “working round the clock” to keep society safe. “Not now” Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group were told that the Government is “focused entirely” on responding to the pandemic, in particular on the vaccination rollout and preparations for a third wave. The letter, sent on 1 April, says the Government’s response is at a “critical phase” and all…

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Keir Starmer won’t support calls for an inquiry into Boris Johnson’s dishonesty

Keir Starmer declined to sign a letter from six opposition parties calling for an inquiry into the prime minister’s “consistent failure to be honest”. The letter, signed by the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru, SNP, SDLP and Alliance, accuses Boris Johnson of misleading parliament during debate. It subsequently asks the speaker of the house to allow a vote into holding an inquiry into the accusations. The parties specify several false claims the prime minister has made in parliament, including: January 2020 – “The economy under this Conservative government has grown by 73%” February 2020 – “We have cut CO2 emissions in this country since 2010, on 1990 levels,…

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Coroner urges PM to hold coronavirus inquiry after ruling on pregnant nurse’s death

A coroner has called on the prime minister to press ahead with a public inquiry into the pandemic “as soon as practicable” after concluding that it’s unclear how a heavily pregnant nurse contracted coronavirus (Covid-19). Society Coroner Emma Whitting delivered a narrative conclusion at the inquest into the death of sister Mary Agyapong, 28, who died last year at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital where she worked, five days after giving birth to her second child. She spent at least the last week of her life with coronavirus, a diagnosis initially dismissed by medics at the hospital where she worked, despite collapsing at home and suffering acute breathing…

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Salmond accuser feels ‘let down’ by Scottish government and exploited by Holyrood inquiry

A woman who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by Alex Salmond has found the Holyrood committee’s investigation “more traumatic” than the High Court trial of the former first minister. “Let down” The woman, speaking anonymously on the BBC’s The Sunday Show, said the Scottish government “let down” women who complained because of its unlawful investigation. She also said the committee inquiry set up to look into the botched investigation of Salmond had turned the issue into a “political fight” and suggested any conclusions it reaches will be “utterly useless”. She also denied claims that there had been a conspiracy to target Salmond and said: It is…

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Finucane family to seek Joe Biden’s support for public inquiry campaign

The family of Pat Finucane are to seek the support of president-elect Joe Biden for their ongoing campaign for a public inquiry into his murder.No inquiryMr Finucane’s widow and three children were left furious on 30 November after the government said no to an immediate inquiry. Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis said he was not taking a public inquiry off the table but said further examinations of the case by police and a police watchdog should conclude first.Mr Finucane, 39, who represented republican and loyalist paramilitaries during the conflict, was shot dead in his family home in north Belfast in February 1989 by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA)…

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Veteran anti-war activist warns that ‘spycops’ inquiry is unlikely to change anything

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill seeks to legalise the criminal activities of police, the security services and their sources. It is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords. Ironically, its passage also coincides with the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) which, after five years, has just heard opening statements from victims of undercover policing. While the CHIS bill is likely to be enacted within a matter of weeks, the UCPI is expected to continue for several more years, with no end date confirmed. Ali warns of dangers One of the many powerful statements presented to the UCPI was by veteran anti-war activist Tariq Ali.…

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The spy cops inquiry protects abusers of women and glosses over police corruption

For those of us following the undercover policing inquiry, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the state isn’t interested in upholding its own laws, so hell-bent it is on protecting police staff. We have watched as it continues to protect the anonymity of the undercover police who abused women. And we have seen the inquiry gloss over police corruption. We have even heard an ex-police officer liken having sex with women to sampling drugs. Protecting a man who incited arson… It’s absurd that the chair of the inquiry, John Mitting, still insists on protecting the anonymity of spy cop Carlo Soracchi, whose cover name as an activist was…

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Parties unite to call for Pat Finucane killing public inquiry

Four political parties in the north of Ireland have united to call for a public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. Mr Finucane, 39, was murdered by loyalist terrorists in front of his family in 1989 amid claims of collusion with state security forces. In February last year, the Supreme Court ruled that investigations into the fatal shooting of the solicitor have not been effective and fell short of international human rights standards. ? BREAKING: Letter from the four parties to Brandon Lewis calling on the British Government to hold a public inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane. pic.twitter.com/zPcw4JdYg3 — Sinn…

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