JACOB REES-MOGG faced calls to quit yesterday — including from rapper Stormzy — after appearing to accuse Grenfell Tower victims of lacking ‘common sense’.
The leader of the Commons apologised over his remarks in an interview on LBC radio.
However, Brit award winner Stormzy (pictured above) branded him ‘wicked and evil’ and an ‘alien’. He began a series of furious tweets with: ‘Oi @Jacob_ReesMogg you need to resign you’re an actual piece of s***.’
Senior Tory Mr Rees-Mogg was asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the public inquiry into the devastating fire that killed 72 people at the tower block in west London in June 2017. Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who led the inquiry, found fire chiefs were too slow to ditch their advice to residents to stay put in their flats rather than risk fleeing.
And Mr Rees-Mogg told Mr Ferrari: ‘I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building.
‘It just seems the common sense thing to do, and it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.’ He later clarified: ‘What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time.
‘However, with what we know now and with hindsight, I wouldn’t, and I don’t think anyone else would. I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments.’
London-born Stormzy, 26, wrote: ‘This is blood on the government’s hands. Grenfell was their fault and their fault alone… these are the people in charge of our country and they think that the Grenfell fire victims died coz they were just stupid.’
Survivors’ group Grenfell United said: ‘The leader of the House of Commons suggesting that the 72 people who lost their lives lacked common sense is beyond disrespectful.’
And Labour’s David Lammy said: ‘Jacob Rees-Mogg should resign. His suggestion that the 72 victims lacked “common sense” is unforgivable. His “apology” is not an apology: it is just a cowardly attempt to pretend he said the exact opposite of what actually he said.’
No.10 insisted prime minister Boris Johnson retained confidence in Mr Rees-Mogg. And Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen praised his ‘intelligence’, adding: ‘He would’ve made a better decision than the authority figures who gave that advice.’
Meanwhile, London Fire Brigade commissioner Dany Cotton promised a ‘very different’ response if there was another fire like at Grenfell.