Trump blasts Prime Minister Theresa May in interview published during his first official visit to Britain


British Prime Minister Theresa May greets President Trump before a dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

 After Prime Minister Theresa May rolled out the red carpet at Blenheim Palace on Thursday night for President Trump’s first official visit to Britain, a London tabloid published an explosive interview in which Trump blasted May’s compromise, pro-business plan to leave the European Union and warned that her approach could imperil any future trade deal between the United States and Britain.

The remarks cast an immediate pall over a visit that included a lavish dinner with business leaders Thursday night and plans to meet Queen Elizabeth II for afternoon tea on Friday. It was the latest international incident to erupt during Trump’s brief sojourn abroad, which kicked off with incendiary comments that upended a NATO summit in Brussels and further strained relationships with longtime U.S. allies.

In addition to attacking May on Brexit, Trump also praised her archrival, Boris Johnson, as a potential future prime minister while attacking London’s mayor as soft on crime and terrorism.

The blunt language and harsh dismissal in Trump’s interview stunned 10 Downing Street.

May’s office did not issue a reply to Trump’s remarks but referred reporters to an earlier statement: “We have come to an agreement at the proposal we’re putting to the European Union which absolutely delivers on the Brexit people voted for. They voted for us to take back control of our money, our law and our borders and that’s exactly what we will do.”

Newspaper editors scrambled to update their front pages. “The ego has landed,” said the Daily Mirror, adding that Trump “embarrasses Prime Minister with attack on her plan for soft Brexit.” On its front page, the Daily Mail said Trump had offered “typically blunt home truths for Britain.”

 0:58
May defends Brexit policy after Trump casts doubt

Responding to President Trump’s remarks on Brexit on the morning of July 12, British Prime Minister Theresa May defended her proposal. 

In the interview, done earlier this week, Trump disparaged May’s Brexit plan: “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”

He added: “The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.”

If May has Britain align its rules and regulations for goods and agricultural products with Europe, following “a common ­rule book” with Brussels, as May puts it, then, Trump said, that could derail a trade deal with Washington.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump told the Sun, which published its splash at 11 p.m. in Britain.

Trump was scheduled to meet with May for talks on Friday.


Activists inflate a giant balloon depicting President Trump as an orange baby ahead of protests in London. (Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images)

“The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her,’ ” U.S. press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “He thought she was great on NATO today and is a really terrific person.”

The U.S. contingent expected the story to post Friday morning and was startled to leave the dinner Thursday and see it online. Sanders told the British government about the interview but thought it would be somewhat more positive, an official said.

White House officials were scrambling for what to say to May on Friday. “There’s no way Trump will apologize,” a senior U.S. official said. “But we also don’t want to blow everything up.”

A second White House official said Trump had two days of positive interactions with May. But the official also conceded that Trump had talked about her vulnerabilities and criticized her political acumen privately for many months.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.

Trump also said to the Sun that he was not spending much time in London on this trip because he did not feel welcome, due to mass demonstrations planned for Friday.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” he told the paper. “I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”

Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, too, saying that he’s done a “bad job” on tackling terrorism and crime.

“Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism,” Trump said. “I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”

But he spoke glowingly of Johnson, who quit the cabinet this week in protest over May’s plans for a soft Brexit.

“I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me and says very good things about me,” Trump told the tabloid. “I was very saddened to see he was leaving government, and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country.”

Asked whether Johnson could find himself in 10 Downing Street one day, Trump said, “Well I am not pitting one against the other. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.”

Trump did not have public events in Britain on Thursday. Planners have taken great care to keep him from protests.

After his trips overseas to Asia and the Middle East, Trump went on for days about the grandiose treatment — and the Brits were clearly trying to do well by him.

At the dinner, in her remarks, May made her pitch to Trump. She began by noting that “Sir Winston Churchill once said that ‘to have the United States at our side was, to me, the greatest joy.’ ”

Then she moved to the deals she hoped to strike. “Now, as we prepare to leave the European Union, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do more. It’s an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the U.K. and right across the United States,” she said.

The prime minister said that Brexit offered the chance “to tear down the bureaucratic barriers that frustrate business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic,” according to an account provided by 10 Downing Street.

An hour later, the interview with the Sun appeared and seemed to dash May’s hopes.

Brian Klaas, a fellow in global politics at the London School of Economics, said May is walking a tightrope. She needs Trump to promise fantastic trade deals and help May deliver the “global Britain” she has promised. But she can’t appear fawning.

“Her political base and the broader British public do not like Donald Trump,” Klaas said. “She also wants to show that in a post-Brexit world, Britain can still be a major player, and Trump is central to that narrative.”

Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a London think tank, said that for May, the Trump visit “was something to be survived.”

Recalling the disaster that struck British leader Tony Blair, in his embrace of George W. Bush and his alliance with Washington in the Iraq War, Niblett said May would be extremely wary of being seen as “Trump’s poodle.”

Organizers of Britain’s nationwide protests are committed to staging some of the largest demonstrations since 2003, when hundreds of thousands hit the streets to oppose war in Iraq.

Organizers said that from the moment Trump landed on British soil to the moment he leaves, he will be met by a “carnival of resistance.” A giant “Trump Baby” balloon will fly over Parliament Square. Protesters plan to shout at Trump at places he will be visiting — Winfield House, Blenheim Palace, Chequers, Windsor Castle and his Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Others will assemble in  towns and cities up and down the country.

“I’m marching because of the disdain that Trump has shown for Britain and because of his disgraceful treatment of minorities in the United States,” said David Lammy, a leading member in the opposition Labour Party.

“Whenever London experiences a tragedy, it’s also the case that Trump licks his lips and tweets,” he said.

Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

‘Islamic State’ follower convicted for trying to create ‘army of children’ in London

British “Islamic State” supporter Umar Haque has been found guilty of trying to recruit children to carry out attacks across London. Haque had shown children videos of beheadings and made them re-enact previous attacks.

UK | trial of Umar Haque (picture-alliance/empics/E. Cook)A sketch of Umar Haque during his final hearing at the Old Bailey in London

A 25-year-old British man was found guilty on Thursday of trying to recruit children to carry out attacks in the British capital.

London’s Old Bailey Court heard how Umar Haque was “fascinated by the warped and extreme ideology” of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) jihadi group. Haque was accused of trying to radicalize children he taught at a mosque and two private Islamic schools.

Read more: Germany: How do terrorist groups compare?

Despite having no teaching qualifications and being employed as an administrator, Haque used the guise of teaching Islamic studies to indoctrinate children into becoming militants for IS. His tactics included showing the children violent beheading videos and forcing them to re-enact attacks on London, such as Khalid Masood’s attack on Westminster Bridge last year.

“His plan was to create an army of children to assist with multiple terrorist attacks throughout London,” the head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, Dean Haydon, said. “He tried and he did, we believe, radicalize vulnerable children from the ages of 11 to 14.”

Prosecutors said Haque had targeted popular landmarks in the British capital, including Big Ben, Heathrow Airport, and the Westfield shopping center in east London.

Watch video04:00

Terror in Europa – its economic impact

Children ‘paralyzed by fear’

Some 110 children had come into contact with Haque’s teachings in the past year, authorities said. Of those, 35 are undergoing long-term safeguarding measures through social services and other authorities.

Six others gave evidence during Haque’s trial, detailing how he made them do push-ups and taught them to fight.

Haydon told the court that the children had been “paralyzed by fear” into not telling their parents or other teachers, warning that if they did they would suffer the same fate as those in the videos he had shown them.

Read more: Madrid to Manchester to Barcelona: A chronology of terror in Europe

Questions were also raised over why no issues had been raised at the school, which had been rated outstanding by government inspectors.

“He shouldn’t have been teaching, so that’s a concern,” the Metropolitan Police’s Haydon said. “We have had challenges with both the local community and some of these institutions.”

As he was dragged from the dock by court officers, Haque yelled at the court: “You will clearly see Islamic State establish itself in the Arabian peninsula and that droughts will affect Europe and America.”

Two other men were also convicted of aiding and abetting Haque. They will be sentenced at a later date.

DW editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

dm/aw (AP, Reuters)

Watch video03:32

“Islamic State” recruits return to Europe – Q&A with Maxim Bratersky

COURTESY: DW

London Tops List of Seven Most Competitive Cities of the World

London Tops List of Seven Most Competitive Cities of the World

Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, Washington DC on List of Contender Cities

According to a report by real estate consultant JLL and The Business of Cities, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul are among the seven most competitive cities in the world. The South Korean capital is a new addition to the list in 2017, while the other Asian cities have been included since 2013.

“Seoul has stepped up to join the top six ‘Established World Cities’ due to increasing openness, exceptional digital connectivity, the presence of innovative global firms and robust infrastructure,” says Jeremy Kelly, Director in Global Research, JLL. “Once a traditionally closed market, Seoul is widening its international talent base with the presence of many multinationals, making the city highly competitive on a global level.”

Singapore and Hong Kong maintain stronghold as global cities

Singapore, which ranks at number four of the seven, continues to build its position as a truly global gateway, with an emphasis on being a smart city. According to Mr. Kelly, “To retain its ranking as a global city, Singapore needs to continue fostering its innovation economy and presenting itself as a hub for talent and business.”

Similarly, Hong Kong, in sixth place, continues to punch above its weight as a global city. However, it faces stiff competition from other Chinese cities, with questions raised over its future direction due to political uncertainties, and affordability issues.

“Hong Kong faces both challenges and opportunities from increasing integration with China,” explains Dr. Megan Walters, Head of Research, Asia Pacific, JLL. “On the one hand, it faces huge competition from the likes of Shanghai and Shenzhen. On the other, there are new opportunities especially when it comes to internationalizing the Chinese economy, notably with the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Tokyo climbs back up rankings after slipping in past years

Tokyo currently places at fifth position in the top seven ‘Established World Cities’ list, an improvement on its sixth position in 2015.

“Tokyo has faced challenges with limited economic growth over the past few decades, and is taking steps to become as international as other ‘Established World Cities’, which have made strong advances in their ability to attract international talent, international capital and build international connectivity,” explains Dr Walters. “But the Olympics in 2020 is providing an impetus for Tokyo’s revival as it improves its infrastructure and internationalizes further.”

Competition among global cities

In Asia, issues such as poor air quality and income inequality could potentially hamper governments’ efforts to move up the city rankings. City growth is also impacted by geopolitical uncertainties – the rise of protectionism across the globe and military escalations in Asia have all altered perceptions about which cities appear to be ‘safe bets’ or present higher risks for investment.

As more cities are becoming competitive, a second tier group of 10 ‘Contenders’ has emerged, close on the heels of the ‘Big Seven’. According to the report, China’s ‘Alpha Cities’ – Beijing and Shanghai – are part of this rising group of emerging hubs as the country’s Belt and Road Initiative represents the next step in these cities’ global pathway. The other ‘Contender’ cities identified globally are Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Madrid, Sydney and Washington DC.

With more than 300 city indices currently measuring all aspects of urban life, The Universe of City Indices 2017: Decoding City Performance includes an analysis of 44 of them spanning seven factors: corporate presence, city gateway function, market size, infrastructure platform, access to talent, specialization and innovation, and soft power.

“These indices have a bearing on how we understand city dynamics and serve to guide investors, businesses and employees as they make location choices. They point to which cities have the ingredients for future success and help steer the real estate industry in its response to the rapidly changing urban landscape,” concludes Mr. Kelly.

The ‘Big Seven’ cities of the world comprises:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Paris
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Seoul

The ‘Contenders’ comprises:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Shanghai
  3. Beijing
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Chicago
  6. San Francisco
  7. Toronto
  8. Madrid
  9. Sydney
  10. Washington DC

Courtesy: World Property Journal

Middle East Investors Globally Deploy $10 Billion in Commercial Real Estate

Middle East Investors Globally Deploy $10 Billion in Commercial Real Estate

New York, London, Washington DC Top Target Cities

According to global property advisor CBRE, Middle Eastern investment in global commercial real estate reached $10.1 billion in the 12 months leading up to Q2 2017, with the United States the top country target, while New York City and Washington are among the leading cities.

After a period of exceptionally strong investment activity, outbound investments from the Middle East eased and returned to similar levels as recorded in 2013 and 2014. The Middle East nevertheless remains a major source of capital globally, representing 8 percent of total cross-regional investments between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017.

The U.S. is the top country destination for Middle East investment volume, reaching $3.9 billion in the year to Q2 2017, slightly down from $10.3 billion during the same period in the previous year. London ($1.68 billion) was the leading city target for Middle Eastern investors, followed by New York ($820 million) and Washington, D.C. ($469 million).

“Investors from the Middle East remain active buyers in the global real estate market and continue to target core assets with long leases in safe-haven locations. The recent decline in oil price only strengthened the case for investors to diversify their income streams, both in terms of asset classes and geographies; they are taking a long-term view,” said Chris Ludeman, Global President, Capital Markets, CBRE.

“While investors from other global regions are largely focused on the traditional commercial real estate sectors such as offices, retail and logistics, Middle Eastern buyers typically have a strong appetite for alternative asset classes such as hotels, residential, student housing and healthcare, as well as infrastructure,” added Mr. Ludeman.

In line with previous years, Sovereign Wealth Funds remain the largest source of Middle Eastern capital, acquiring $5.4 billion in real estate assets globally between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017, although this represents a decline of 17 percent year-over-year. High net worth individuals and private investors from the region were less active compared to previous years, which indicates that this group might be more susceptible to adverse market conditions.

“It is becoming increasingly challenging to secure core assets with long leases in the current market environment, particularly with Asian buyers raising exposure to this segment, meaning investors need to be aggressive to win deals. Despite the impact on short-term outflows, the Middle East region remains an important source of global capital with buying activity likely to increase over time,” added Mr. Ludeman.

Courtesy: World Property Journal

UK PM Theresa May vows to fight ‘all forms of terrorism’ in wake of London attack

After a vehicle drove into pedestrians near a mosque in north London, killing at least one person, Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker had acted alone. The UK will look at increased security for mosques.

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired an emergency Cobra cabinet meeting on Monday, telling reporters afterwards that the alleged perpetrator was a 48-year-old white man and that according to early assessments he had acted alone.

May also said the government was assessing the security of mosques in the UK, adding that there had been “too much tolerance” of extremism and vowing to fight it in the same way the UK had fought racism.

The attack was a “sickening attempt” to destroy the freedom to worship, the prime minister said outside Downing Street. “It was an attack that once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent … this time British Muslims,” she said.

“London is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people,” she added.

A map of the Finsbury Park area of north London.A map of the Finsbury Park area of north London

Details of the attack as we get them

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan police – the senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing – said it was too early to tell whether the man who died at the scene had been killed in the attack.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a group of people giving an emergency heart massage to one man before the attack happened.

Eight others were taken to hospital and two were treated at the scene, Basu said, adding that all of the victims were Muslim.

Authorities named the suspect as Darren O., a father of four who was living in Cardiff, Wales. He has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism and murder.

“He has further been arrested for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder,” Scotland Yard police headquarters said in a statement.

Interior Minister Amber Rudd said police “immediately” treated the incident as a suspected terrorist attack. Rudd, who is in charge of government law enforcement, called on everyone to remain united after a string of recent Islamist inspired terror attacks in London and Manchester. 

“We must all continue to stand together, resolute, against all those who try to divide us and spread hate and fear,” Rudd said.

The chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, complained that the “mainstream media” had been unwilling to call the attack a terrorist incident for many hours.

Read more: A chronology of terror in Europe

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn – in whose constituency the attack took place – said he was “totally shocked” by the attack. He said in a tweet he has been in touch with mosques, the police and the local council regarding the incident.

As it happened

Police said they were called just after 12:20 a.m. (2320 GMT Sunday) to reports of a collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the Finsbury Park area of north London.

A witness who lives opposite the scene of the incident told the BBC a white van stopped near the Finsbury Park Mosque, as Muslims celebrated Ramadan in the multiethnic area.

“From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside…Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’,” she said. “I didn’t see the attacker himself, although he seems to have been arrested, but I did see the van.”

Police stand at the scene of what they described as a 'major incident' in Finsbury ParkPolice stand at the scene of what they described as a ‘major incident’ in Finsbury Park

One witness, Abdul Rahman, told the BBC he saw the van “deliberately run over about 10 or 15 people.” Rahman said he and another man wrestled the suspect to the ground and held him down for 20 to 30 minutes before police arrived.

“This big van just came and went all over us,” witness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed News. “He was screaming… ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims.'”

The UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said on Twitter that the crash happened outside the Muslim Welfare House, just down the road from Finsbury Park Mosque. “Our prayers are with the victims,” it said.

At least two witnesses told Sky News there were three men in the van, but the police statement seems to contradict that, saying no other suspects had been identified or reported to police.

Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, described the incident as the “most violent manifestation to date” of Islamophobia, and called on authorities to do more “to tackle the growth in hate crime.”

UK on high alert

London is on edge after eight people were killed in a van and knife attack on London Bridge and the Borough Market area earlier this month. In March, a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer to death before being shot dead. In May, the city of Manchester was targeted with a suicide bombing at a pop concert that killed 22 people.

Britain’s terrorist alert has been set at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.

Police said they had deployed extra policing resources “to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan.”

Emergency vehicles and police officers in the street at Finsbury Park LondonPolice, the ambulance service and fire brigade block the road in Finsbury Park where a van drove into pedestrians

A spike in hate crimes has been reported since the attack in south London two weeks ago.

Finsbury Park: hotbed of radical Islam

The Finsbury Park Mosque had been associated with radical Islamist ideology in the past, but its image changed after it was shut down and reopened under new management.

Its former imam, Abu Hamza, was jailed in Britain for inciting violence and racial hatred before being extradited to New York, where he was sentenced to life in prison for terrorism in 2015. That same year, the mosque took part in an open day organized by the MCB to promote a better understanding of Islam following Islamist-inspired attacks in Paris. It has not been associated with extremist views for more than a decade.

cw/jbh/rg (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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London fire: Protesters storm town hall

  • 12 minutes ago
  • From the sectionUK
Media captionAngry protesters stormed Kensington Town Hall, demanding answers

Protesters demanding help for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire have stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with a list of demands.

Between 50 and 60 people broke off from a protest outside to go into the council building.

One member of the public said people made homeless needed help “right now”.

After meeting survivors near Grenfell Tower, Theresa May announced a £5m fund to pay for emergency supplies, food, clothes and other costs.

There were angry scenes outside the Clement James Centre, in North Kensington, where the meeting had been held.

The Press Association reported one woman was crying at the scene saying it was because the prime minister had declined to speak to anyone outside.

Earlier, the Queen and Prince William visited a relief centre for the victims, while the missing could number about 70, the BBC understands.

Police say at least 30 people died as a result of the west London blaze and are likely to be among the 70. Three of those who died have been identified.

There was nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately, police said.

The town hall protest began at around 15:00 BST and scores have since joined it.

Protesters outside the Town HallImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionProtesters outside the Town Hall had a list of demands for the council

At around 16:30 BST, people began to rush up the steps and make their way into the building.

One member of the public said people made homeless by the fire needed help “right now”, adding: “Nobody knows what is happening. People are so angry. Those people shouldn’t be sleeping in the street”.

The organisers of the protest said council leaders would not come out to talk to them, but had released a statement, promising to rehouse as many people locally as they could and to provide funding for those affected.

However, they refused to give out the number of people who lived in the tower block – which was one of the protesters’ demands, organisers said.

Public ‘not satisfied’ with answers

Mustafa Al Mansur, who organised the protest, said the council’s response was “flimsy” with “no concrete answers”.

“The people were not satisfied with the answers,” he told BBC News. “The people were getting frustrated and they walked towards the building. They did not force themselves inside. They got inside the main building and were in the foyer, just speaking.”

Police then arrived on the scene and formed a barricade, which Mr Al Mansur said led to “physical confrontation” between the two sides.

“We would like the chief executive of the council to make public commitments on what the council is going to do for the victims of this borough, and for all the other buildings in the borough that [could] stand the same fate at Grenfell Towers.”

Protesters inside the buildingImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionBetween 50 and 60 protesters rushed into the council building

The £5m Grenfell Tower Residents’ Discretionary Fund, announced by Mrs May, includes the aim to rehouse residents within three weeks as close to where they lived before as possible, to pay for temporary housing in the meantime and to provide extra financial assistance.

During her meeting with survivors, the PM also said they would be consulted on the terms of the public inquiry announced on Thursday and receive state funding for legal representation.

Mrs May said: “Everyone affected by this tragedy needs reassurance that the government is there for them at this terrible time – and that is what I am determined to provide.”

Royal visit

The Queen and Duke of Cambridge met volunteers, residents and community representatives during their visit to the Westway Sports Centre.

The Queen paid tribute to the “bravery” of firefighters and the “incredible generosity” of volunteers now offering support.

Media captionThe Queen meets people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said that of those who were killed, one died in hospital.

He also said there was nothing to suggest that the fire was started deliberately, and that everyone in hospital has now been identified. Police say some of those killed in the fire may never be identified.

The fire broke out shortly before 01:00 BST on Wednesday.

It tore through all floors of the building and took more than 200 firefighters 24 hours to bring it under control.

Mahad Egal, who escaped his fourth floor flat with his family, said: “At first it seemed it was controllable, but really quickly the fire started to rise as the cladding caught fire. It is incredible we survived.”

Emergency services are spending a third day searching for bodies in the burnt-out Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.

Fire chiefs say they do not expect to find more survivors. Police have launched a criminal investigation into the fire and PM Theresa May has ordered a public inquiry.

The Queen being shown food suppliesImage copyrightPA
Image captionHer Majesty was shown the food supplies donated to those made homeless by the fire

The prime minister faced criticism for not meeting survivors on a visit to the scene on Thursday, unlike Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

When Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom visited the scene, a man shouted: “Why are Sadiq Khan and Corbyn coming down here to speak to people and Theresa May is coming here with police, walking around, not meeting no-one, not meeting families?

“Enough is enough, I have got friends in that tower. We have a right to be angry.”

Downing Street said the purpose of her visit was to get a briefing from emergency services and she later announced a public inquiry.

But former cabinet minister Michael Portillo said the prime minister “didn’t use her humanity”.

Prime Minister Theresa May with firefightersImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe prime minister spoke to fire commissioner Dany Cotton as she surveyed the damage

So far in the investigation:

  • Six victims of the blaze have been provisionally identified by police
  • A total of 24 people remained in hospital – 12 in a critical condition
  • A criminal investigation has been launched
  • MPs have called for the public inquiry to be “swift” and get answers on safety as quickly as possible
  • Mr Khan has written an open letter to the prime minister, calling for her plan to help the community “as a matter of urgency”.
  • Mrs May is chairing a cross-Whitehall meeting on how to help the community recover
  • UK councils are carrying out urgent reviews of their tower blocks, according to the Local Government Association
  • The British Red Cross has launched an appeal to raise money for those affected
  • The emergency number for people concerned about friends and family is 0800 0961 233
Media captionMetropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said the recovery is being done with dignity

The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council told BBC Two’s Newsnight it would not use the type of cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower on other buildings in the borough.

The cladding – installed on the tower in a recent renovation – has come under scrutiny, with experts saying a more fire resistant type could have been used.

Grenfell Tower

On Thursday, the first victim of the fire was named as Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, 23.

The Syria Solidarity Campaign said Mr Alhajali, a civil engineering student, had been in a flat on the 14th floor when the fire broke out, and had spent two hours on the phone to a friend in Syria.

Media captionVictim’s brother recounts final call: “He said: ‘Why did you leave me?’.”

He had been trying to get through to his family while he was waiting to be rescued.

His older brother, Omar, told the BBC he had lost Mohammed on the way out of the building.

Two other victims have also been named.

Five-year-old Isaac Shawo reportedly got separated from his family in the smoke and later died.

Artist and photographer Khadija Saye, 24, lived on the 20th floor and also died.


At the scene

By Peter Hunt, BBC royal correspondent

This is the British monarchy, in action, showing it has learnt from its mistakes of the past.

Mistakes that have included the significant time that elapsed before the Queen visited the site of the Aberfan disaster in the 1960s and the “Show us you care” newspaper headlines that were printed 20 years ago, in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

As Theresa May is learning to her cost, it is a tragedy with a growing political dimension. There is a howl of pain and anger being directed at an establishment which has the royals at its heart.

There’s the talk of the divide between rich and poor. The Queen’s grandson is a millionaire prince living in a palace in the same borough as Grenfell Tower.

In coming to the site, the Queen was acting as “head of the nation” – a focal point at a moment of considerable pain. She was also providing her prime minister with a masterclass in how to respond on such occasions.

Read more from Peter Hunt here


Stories of how people managed to escape have also emerged.

Christos Fairbairn, 41, a resident who lived on the 15th floor, described how he collapsed while fleeing the building, only to be rescued by a firefighter.

“I can’t believe I am alive,” he said. “I will never forget what happened and how traumatising it was. I know I will never live in a tower block again.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Elpidio Bonifacio, a partially blind man in his 70s, was rescued from his 11th-floor flat after having been seen at the window waving a jumper.

His son Gordon, 41, said on Facebook that his father was now in intensive care.

Media captionLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the site and spoke to locals

Rydon, the company that carried out the £8.6m refurbishment of the tower, welcomed the public inquiry, but said it had met all building and fire regulations, plus health and safety standards.

Housing minister Alok Sharma said the government was working with the local authority to ensure that “every single family will be rehoused in the local area” – but Kensington and Chelsea Council said it may “have to explore housing options… in other parts of the capital.”

Media captionOne eyewitness said he saw people blinking lights within the building

Terrifying videos of west London tower blaze: 120 apartments engulfed, falling debris (VIDEOS)

Terrifying videos of west London tower blaze: 120 apartments engulfed, falling debris (VIDEOS)
A huge blaze, falling debris, and people reportedly still trapped inside – terrifying footage of the inferno at the massive block in West London has emerged online.

“The fire started happening on the third floor. We called the fire brigade. They came 20 minutes later. And then the whole thing just went off. An hour and a half later I saw a kid on the 22nd floor on fire. He went to the window and jumped,” Greg Stevens, an evacuee, told Ruptly news agency.

Another video featured a figure in a window of the burning Grenfell Tower in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Another evacuee, Daniel Williams, described how fire brigades were battling the blaze.

“They’ve come down, and they’ve tried to put the fire out but they weren’t reaching it… As the fire got higher, then they decided to use the ladders. But even then, the fire has just gone up. And now half of the building is gone,” he told Ruptly.

As of early Wednesday morning, the building is still engulfed in flames.

At least 45 fire engines and over 200 firefighters and officers have been deployed to the scene, the London Fire Brigade said.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatuses are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire. This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances,” Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly said.

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