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Grenfell fire: Police carry out 13 interviews under caution

Grenfell fire: Police carry out 13 interviews under caution


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Police investigating the Grenfell Tower fire say they have carried out 13 interviews under caution.

The Metropolitan Police would not confirm the number of people who had been interviewed but said more interviews were scheduled.

It added more than 7,100 statements had been taken from “witnesses, community and family members, emergency services personnel” and “other sources”.

The fire, which destroyed the London block on 14 June 2017, left 72 dead.

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle was killed in the fire, said the interviews showed “some positive steps” were being taken.

Mr Mussilhy, who is vice chairman of the campaign group Grenfell United, added that “it would be interesting to find out” who had been interviewed.

Labour MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad, said it was “just what our community wanted to hear”.

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Karim Mussilhy lost his uncle in the fire

Three interviews had been conducted under caution when police announced a “new phase” of their investigation in July last year.

However, police have said it could be the end of 2021 before criminal charges are considered.

The Met has said it wants to see the conclusions of the public inquiry’s second phase, which starts next year, before compiling a file of evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service to look at.

Phase two will examine causes of the fire, including the use of cladding blamed for helping it to spread.

In 2017, police said they had “reasonable grounds” to suspect that corporate manslaughter offences had been committed.

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Donald Trump to join Queen for 75th D-Day anniversary

Donald Trump to join Queen for 75th D-Day anniversary

Queen Elizabeth shows Mr Trump and the First Lady items on display

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US President Donald Trump will join the Queen in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, on the final day of his UK state visit.

Theresa May will host 15 world leaders to honour the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.

Figures from every country that fought alongside the UK will be attending.

Mr Trump said he was looking forward to going to Portsmouth to commemorate what “may have been the greatest battle ever in history”.

The countries being represented at the event have agreed to make a joint statement pledging to ensure the “unimaginable horror” of World War Two is not repeated.

Called “the D-Day proclamation”, the 16 signatories – including the UK and the United States – commit to working together to “resolve international tensions peacefully”.

The UK prime minister will use the occasion to call for continued Western unity in tackling what she will call “new and evolving security threats”.

The commemorations to mark the Allied invasion of northern France come a day after Mr Trump had a series of political meetings as part of his three-day state visit to the UK.

The president used a TV interview to play down his earlier suggestion that the NHS would be included in post-Brexit trade talks between the US and the UK.

During a joint news conference with the UK prime minister, Mr Trump had said “everything is on the table” in future discussions between the countries.

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But Health Secretary Matt Hancock was among several Conservative leadership candidates who said they would not allow the NHS to become part of any trade talks.

And later Mr Trump told Piers Morgan in an interview for ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he did not “see it being on the table”.

“Somebody asked me a question today and I said everything’s up for negotiation because everything is, but I don’t see that being… that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade,” he said.

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The interview took place in Winston Churchill’s War Rooms

Other things Mr Trump said in the ITV interview were:

  • People who fought in D-Day paid the “ultimate debt”. “That may have been the greatest battle ever in history,” he said. “Being at that site [Portsmouth was one of the key embarkation points on D-Day] will be very interesting”
  • He would have “no problem” with meeting Jeremy Corbyn another time after earlier revealing he had turned down a request to meet the Labour leader who he called a “negative force”
  • He had a long conversation with Prince Charles about climate change – referred to as “extreme weather” by Mr Trump – and was impressed with the prince’s “passion” for future generations
  • He clarified that he had called the Duchess of Sussex’s comments about him “nasty”, rather than calling her nasty
  • His mother “would have been very proud” to see him meet the Queen
  • “There’s always a chance” he might take military action in Iran, but he does not want to. “I’d much rather talk [to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani],” he said
  • On having the nuclear codes – “I think it’s a terrible responsibility but it’s a responsibility I’m prepared to handle”
  • On his ban on transgender people serving in the army – “It is what it is,” he said. “They take massive amounts of drugs, they have to… You would have to break rules and regulations in order to have that”

Trump and what comes next

For any prime minister, handling a president like Donald Trump is like trying to hold on to a Ming vase walking across a recently polished, slippery parquet floor.

He’s a leader who glories in the unpredictable, who seems to wake up every morning wondering what controversy he can provoke, what headlines he can create.

His reason for being is therefore from the start in contrast with the stiff choreography of a state visit.

But No 10 will be relieved that the formalities with the PM were free of mishap. And, as Theresa May readies herself for the exit, Donald Trump, who has definitely embarrassed her in the past, didn’t repeat that habit.

Instead, he spoke warmly of her, suggesting that history may judge her much more kindly than the manner of her departure suggests.

But some of the most notable remarks were not related to the prime minister in any case, but to what’s next.

Whether you are overjoyed about Mrs May leaving or not, it is telling that the three names Donald Trump mentioned immediately when asked about the next leader were Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, and Michael Gove, categorising them deliberately or not as the three most likely candidates to win the keys to No 10.

Read more from Laura’s blog

Tuesday saw protesters gathered in central London and other cities – including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield – to voice their opposition to President Trump’s visit.

Mr Corbyn – who boycotted Monday evening’s state dinner – was joined at the rally on Tuesday by members of other political parties, including the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

In a Tweet posted on Wednesday, Mr Trump said the “massive” rallies he had been told to expect were “flops”.

“The big crowds, which the Corrupt Media hates to show, were those that gathered in support of the USA and me,” he added.

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A protest against the state visit started in Trafalgar Square before moving down Whitehall

At the end of a day of meetings with the prime minister and a visit to the Churchill War Rooms, Mr Trump welcomed guests for a banquet at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended on behalf of the Queen, along with the prime minister and some members of her cabinet.

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Prince Charles, Mr Trump and Mrs May feasted on beef fillet and heritage tomatoes at Tuesday night’s dinner

The US president is expected to meet Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove on Wednesday morning – he has already had a phone conversation with fellow candidate Boris Johnson – before his first official engagement in Portsmouth at 11:00 BST.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales will attend the commemorations on Southsea Common, along with representatives from every country that fought alongside the UK in the Battle of Normandy.

It was the largest military operation ever attempted and marked the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied north-west Europe.

Troops from the UK, the US, Canada, and France attacked German forces on the coast of northern France, on 6 June 1944.

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Troops from the US 7th Corps took part in the operation in Normandy, France

Joining Mrs May and Mr Trump will be French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as prime ministers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia.

The last time the UK hosted this many world leaders outside a formal summit was the 2012 Olympics.

Members of the armed forces and more than 300 veterans, who are all over 90 years old, will also attend the event in Portsmouth – one of the key embarkation points on D-Day.

Following the commemorations, Mr Trump will fly to Shannon for his first visit to the Republic of Ireland as US president.

He will then hold a meeting with the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar before he goes to his golf resort in Doonbeg.

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