Theresa May says 'I will always regret' not meeting Grenfell families and admits her handling of the tragedy was ‘not good enough’

As Number 10 agrees to turn green to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly blaze in West London, the Prime Minister said it has “taken too long” to re-house those left homeless.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mrs May said of the tower block fire: “It was a tragedy unparalleled in recent history and, although many people did incredible work during and after the fire, it has long been clear that the initial response was not good enough. I include myself in that.”

In a deeply personal article he PM went on to reference the criticism she received for being pictured at the scene of the tragedy, but not meeting those affected, in the days after 72 people were killed.

She wrote: “The day after the disaster I made the first of a number of trips to the site, thanking the firefighters for their work and holding a short meeting with the team in charge of the response.

“What I did not do on that first visit was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze.

“But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair.

“And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn’t care. That was never the case.”

But she said “real progress” is being made on making sure the survivors “get the homes and support they need, and the truth and justice they deserve”.

She added: “It has taken too long, but of the 203 households in need of a new home, 198 households have now accepted an offer of accommodation, either permanent or temporary.”

It came as Housing Secretary James Brokenshire told MPs that almost a year on from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy 43 affected households remain in hotels.

He said that 198 out of 203 households had accepted a permanent or temporary accommodation offer, with 134 now having moved in but the process was “slow”.

He added: “I remain very concerned about the 43 households who are living in hotels, my ministerial team has met with many of them and I personally have written to all of them to find out what barriers exist in each individual case and how we can overcome them.

It was also revealed today that the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire will pause for a week as a series of memorials and vigils are held one year on from the tragedy.

Members of the grieving north Kensington community will come together for a 24-hour vigil on the eve of the anniversary on Thursday.

The tower is expected to be completely covered by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words "Grenfell forever in our hearts" emblazoned across the four highest floors.

In a show of solidarity, 12 tower blocks in the surrounding area will be illuminated in green, as will Downing Street and a number of Government buildings.

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