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MP seeks crane debate

Member for Battersea calls for Commons action following two deaths in Thamesside collapse

AN MP is demanding a House of Commons debate into crane safety following the tragedy at Battersea last month, in which a tower crane collapsed, killing two people.

Martin Linton, Labour MP for Battersea, has called for crane safety to be reviewed after crane driver John Cloake, 37, and local resident Michael Alexa, 23, were killed when a 50 m-high BPR 222 tower crane collapsed onto a twostorey block of f lats .

Mr Linton said: 'Such a debate would allow the secretary of state for work and pensions to report to the House on the number of similar fatalities, and review the need for further changes in crane safety.

'That would benefit people who work on cranes and those who work next to building sites and who look nervously at the cranes towering over them.'

Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw promised to raise the matter with work and pensions secretary John Hutton.

Mr Straw said: 'On behalf of the Government and the House, I would like to send our condolences to the relatives of those who were killed.

'It will be no comfort to them to know that safety at work has improved in recent years, but even one accident or fatality is one too many. I shall of course raise the matter with the secretary of state for work and pensions, and I know that my honourable friend is raising the matter with the Health & Safety Executive.'

The HSE has concluded its investigations on the site of the collapse at Barratt's Viridian housing development and the site is being prepared to be reopened. A Barratt spokesman said: 'The site has now been handed back to us. We are currently reviewing the requirements to fully commence operations.

'We are in discussion with a number of crane suppliers regarding new cranes and once these have been identified we will advise the local authority and residents accordingly.'

The investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the Health & Safety Executive continues.