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The Government's Housing Minister Broke Down When Talking About Grenfell Survivors

"Hearing the experiences of the survivors has been one of the most humbling and moving experience of my life," Alok Sharma told the House of Commons.

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The housing minister, Alok Sharma, has broken down in parliament as he spoke about meeting survivors of the Grenfell Tower block tragedy.

Sharma, who as minister of state for housing and planning has overseen much of the recovery work on the west London tower block, was giving a statement in the House of Commons about the situation of residents and locals following the fire.

"Hearing the experiences of the survivors has been one of the most humbling and moving experience of my life.

"The families that I met have been through unimaginable pain,” Sharma said, his voice catching as he finished his prepared statement.

"This is a tragedy that never should have happened and we are determined to make sure that something like this never happens again.”

A huge blaze broke out in the early hours of 14 June and consumed the floors of the residential block in west London. At least 80 people died, and firefighters are still searching the building.

In the aftermath of the fire, hard questions are being asked of the local and national governmental response to the blaze. In particular, many residents of the block remain in hotel accommodation, despite a government promise to rehouse them.

Addressing these concerns earlier in his speech, Sharma said that 158 families had been identified as in need of rehousing, and that every family "ready" has been offered a temporary home, while 139 had received offers for accommodation, he said.

"Nineteen families have not been ready yet to engage with this process," he said. "We need to respect that. Some are still in hospital as a result of their injuries."

He went on: "In some cases the people on the ground, offering these families support, have made clear that it would be inappropriate at this time to ask them to make a decision about where they live."

Sharma said the families "have been through unimaginable trauma" and that authorities need to "go at the pace they want to go".

"What matters above all else is what the families individually want," he said.

He said 200 homes had been found for these families, confirming that they had been inspected by a housing team, and that 14 families had accepted temporary accommodation, three of who had moved into the blocks. "We have to respect the pace they want to move,” he said. “No one will be forced into a home that they do not want to move to."

Live Updates: Met Promises “No Hidden Victims” Of Grenfell Tragedy As Occupants Of 23 Flats Remain Unknown

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at

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