The true number of people killed in the Grenfell Tower fire could have been covered up to prevent rioting, Labour MP David Lammy has suggested.
The number of people officially reported to have died or as missing is 79 but Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said that while he had “no idea” if the number was being downplayed, he was “sympathetic” to the theory. At present, just 18 of the victims have been formally identified, with 61 more missing and presumed dead.
"What people say is that if you put the numbers out early, there could be civil unrest. That's what they say," he told BBC2’s Newsnight. "I am sympathetic to it, I am going to walk alongside those people."
When asked whether he thought the authorities were deliberately obscuring the death toll, Lammy, who was friends with 24-year-old victim Khadija Saye, said: "I wasn't there, but people on the ground are saying they saw more [people jump from towers] than is being suggested," reported the Mirror. "And so what people say is that in two, three weeks' time, if you start to reveal the numbers, things have moved on."
"In one flat alone, people say there were up to 40 people gathering, because they gathered in the flat, it was Ramadan," he continued.
Lammy said he had spoken to survivors of the tragedy, many of whom believed a substantially higher number of their neighbours died than has been reported, and he said it was right to “validate what they’re saying, they’re not making it up”.
"When you have tragedies of this kind that could have been prevented, we know from Hillsborough and other affairs in our national life that governments, local authorities, big corporations, companies, the contractors – they cover their backs. That's why I raised issues around the documentation," he said.
Lammy has previously labelled the fire as "corporate manslaughter" and called for arrests to be made.