Stephen Greenhalgh, the minister of state for building safety, responded to reports that the Grenfell Tower inquiry will empty-chair key witnesses from Arconic, the supplier of Grenfell Tower cladding, and called on them to ‘step up to the plate’ after they declined to give evidence to the disaster’s inquiry.
The Times revealed that three executives who worked for the French arm of USA-based Arconic claim that French law prevents them from testifying at the public inquiry into the fire. Although three have declined to attend as witnesses two UK-based Arconic witnesses will give evidence.
On twitter Lord Greenhalgh called on the executives based in France and Germany to attend and wrote: “Time for these @arconic executives to step up to the plate + appear before the #GrenfellTower Inquiry rather than hide behind the 1968 French Blocking Statute.”
Back in November Richard Millett QC, counsel to the inquiry, criticised Arconic, Celotex and Kingspan form making misleading claims about the performance of their products.
The inquiry is due to continue its deliberations when it resumes on Monday 11 January.
Stephen Greenhalgh was appointed a minister of state last spring. He served both as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London from 2012 until 2016, and Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader from 2006 until 2012. He was created Lord Greenhalgh on 16 April 2020.