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John McDonnell: Grenfell Tower blaze was ‘social murder’

‘Scandal’:
John
McDonnell
(right) tells
Andrew
Marr that
‘political
decisions
resulted in
deaths’ PICTURE: BBC

JOHN McDONNELL has said those killed in the Grenfell Tower disaster were the victims of ‘social murder’.

The shadow chancellor repeated his claims that the victims of last month’s fire in which 80 people are thought to have died were ‘murdered by political decisions taken over recent decades’.

Mr McDonnell first expressed his view that the atrocity in Kensington, west London, was ‘murder’ at a Glastonbury debate.

When asked if he regretted his words, he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘No, I don’t. I was extremely angry with what went on. I’m a west London MP, this site is not far from me.

‘Political decisions were made which resulted in the deaths of these people. That’s a scandal,’ he added.

When pressed on his use of the word ‘murder’, Mr McDonnell said: ‘There’s a long history in this country of the concept of social murder where decisions are made with no regard to consequences of that, and as a result of that people have suffered.

‘That’s what’s happened here, and I’m angry. I believe social murder has occurred and I believe people should be accountable.’ Mr Marr asked if politicians who sanctioned the loss of 11,000 firefighter jobs and safety checks were ‘murderers’.

‘I believe politicians have to be held to account,’ he replied. His claims were condemned by chancellor Philip Hammond.‘It is a disgraceful suggestion in line with many other things John McDonnell has said over the years. There is not a shred of evidence to support that.’ The shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, also refused to endorse Mr McDonnell’s claim.

She told the Sunday Politics show there could be a case to bring corporate manslaughter charges, which people might ‘assume’ was murder.

Labour denies rowing back on student loans

THE shadow chancellor has denied watering down Labour pledges to reduce student debt, insisting it remains a ‘real ambition’ to offer help.

John McDonnell said cancelling student debt would cost ‘about’ £100billion.

But he rejected suggestions that Jeremy Corbyn had promised to cancel the debt, saying the Labour leader had pledged to ‘try to tackle’ the issue as the system is ‘collapsing’.

Before the general election Jeremy Corbyn told the NME he was looking at ways to reduce student debt or lengthen the period for paying it off.

Asked if a future Labour government would help students by reducing the burden, Mr McDonnell told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We’re going to try to. It’s a real ambition of ours.’

But when challenged about it being a party pledge, he said: ‘No, it wasn’t a promise. What Jeremy said is we’re going to try to tackle this issue. One of the reasons we’ve got to tackle it is because the system itself is collapsing.’