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Retired judge appointed to lead Grenfell disaster inquiry

The government is expected to announce the appointment of former Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick as the head of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Educated at Cambridge, the 70-year-old has spent five decades practising law, first as a barrister and then as a judge.

As a barrister, Sir Martin specialised in commercial law, going on to serve as a judge on the commercial court and Court of Appeal before retiring in 2016.

The prime minister has previously said that former residents of Grenfell Tower would have a say in the direction of the investigation. The appointment is expected to be officially announced later today.

According to CN’s sister title Architects’ Journal, a spokesperson for the prime minister said there should be a “major national investigation” into cladding after it was revealed that 120 buildings in more than 30 local authorities had failed fire safety tests following the Grenfell fire.

“The prime minister said there would need to be a major national investigation into what had gone wrong, when cladding which is failing the tests was fitted on buildings across the country over a number of decades,” the spokesperson said. 

“Very clearly, these failures are concerning and this is why the prime minister said to Cabinet this morning we need to have this major national investigation.”

Mrs May’s spokesperson said that so far there had been a “100 per cent failure rate” for the cladding samples tested as part of the government’s response to Grenfell.

Cladding samples from around 600 high-rise buildings across the UK are expected to be tested by the BRE on behalf of the government. 

A number of fire safety experts have suggested that the Reynobond aluminium composite rainscreen cladding with polyethylene core installed at Grenfell Tower was a factor in causing the fire to spread so quickly.

It was also announced that RICS president Amanda Clack and Building Research Establishment chief executive Peter Bonfield would be among the appointees to an independent expert advisory panel launched by the government in the wake of the tragedy.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said the panel, chaired former London fire commissioner and government chief fire and rescue adviser Sir Ken Knight, would advise on any immediate measures that could be put in place to ensure building safety.

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