Theresa May sidesteps questions about response to Grenfell Tower disaster

Theresa May has sought to quell anger over the Grenfell Tower disaster by inviting survivors to Downing Street - after the embattled PM was forced to flee crowds of furious residents on Friday.

The meeting on Saturday comes amid criticism levelled at Mrs May for not meeting those caught up in the fire in the immediate wake of the tragedy.

She said: "Today is a traditional day of celebration".

The Prime Minister chaired a Government taskforce on the disaster before meeting residents in Number 10.

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, stood silently on the steps of Buckingham Palace before the start of the Trooping the Color that each year marks the queen's official birthday, which is traditionally celebrated in June when the weather is warm.

Twenty-four people were being treated in hospital, including 12 in critical care, he added.

The remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire, are pictured against the London skyline on Friday.

Fire risk assessment in tower blocks was "less rigorous" since responsibility for it shifted from the fire brigade to the owner, Sian Berry, Housing Committee Chairwoman of the London Assembly, said.

Demonstrators stormed the offices of the Kensington and Chelsea Council over its handling of the crisis amid concerns that earlier renovation work was linked to the dramatic spread of the blaze.

Hundreds of protesters also marched on Whitehall, central London, to voice their frustration at the Government's response to the fire, which ripped through the tower block in north Kensington on Wednesday morning.

Protesters walk down Ladbroke Grove in west London.

There was a large police presence as Mrs May met a group of victims, residents, volunteers and community leaders at St Clement's Church close to the scene of the horrific blaze on Friday afternoon.

"This was a awful tragedy that took place".

Commander Cundy indicated in his statement that the number of victims could rise in coming days, saying: "That number 58 may change, I really hope it won't but it may increase".

Waewta said she was watching television at around 1am when she heard about the fire.

Asked repeatedly whether she had misread the public mood, May did not answer directly but said the focus was on providing support to the victims.

"There will be many questions about this whole incident and so you will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for us to comment or for others to speculate on any aspect of fire, or it causes, in advance of these inquiries", managing director Ray Bailey said.

"This is an absolutely bad fire that took place".

  • Rogelio Becker