Theresa May on #LondonFire – Slip of the tongue or is she pulling a fast one?
There was something bothering me about what may said while visiting the Grenfell Tower the other day, and that was about how they intended to investigate.
She said: “Right now people want answers, and it’s absolutely right, and that’s why I am today ordering a full public inquiry into this disaster. We need to know what happened; we need to have an explanation of this, we owe that to the families. To the people who have lost loved ones, friends, and the homes in which they lived.”
I had to listen to it a few more times until it clicked. She said the words public inquiry when in fact it should be a public inquest.
To the layman, both things are the same, but there are some very major distinctions between the two.
A public inquest is conducted by the coroner’s office, a bit like a criminal trial, in that, all parties get to speak if they want, to lay questions down and to provide evidence and experts if they wish. However, the biggest thing is that it is separate and independent from Government. An inquiry, on the other hand, is set up by the Government which appoints someone to look into the details and then reports back, it means families and loved ones of the victims, residents of the tower etc do not get their day in court. So was this a slip of the tongue or is something else going on here? I say this because an inquiry is unusual in these circumstances. It should be an inquest.
Perhaps the Prime Minister would like to clarify?