It has been over two years since the nation witnessed the horrifying images of smoke billowing out of Grenfell Tower in London, on that June morning. It felt as though the national tragedy would be met by a national response to ensure everyone in a tower block was safe. But it did not.
Luke had been elected a week earlier and was in Parliament when he got the news that the three towers on the Mount Wise estate were clad in a similar ACM-style cladding that helped turned the fire at Grenfell into an inferno.
Luke immediately started a campaign to have the cladding removed and replaced with safe cladding.
Luke Pollard, seeking re-election as MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said:
“I was sat in my usual spot in Parliament, listening to the former Prime Minister give her statement on Grenfell, when I received the news that the Mount Wise tower blocks had failed their fire safety tests. I immediately jumped on a train back to Plymouth and started calling for the cladding from Lynher, Tamar, and Tavey House to be removed.
It was a long, tough fight. And the Government didn’t want to pay for this work. Working with the local community and Devonport’s three Labour councillors, I lead a community campaign to force Ministers to act. I presented a petition of concerned residents to parliament, spoke in debates, and I pressured ministers to make sure there was not another Grenfell in Plymouth. It took far too long for Conservative Ministers to act, but our campaign was eventually a success.
We finally got the funding we needed to make sure the residents could sleep easy at night, knowing that the place they call home was safe. The combustible cladding will all be removed in the spring of 2020. I want to thank Plymouth Community Homes and Plymouth City Council for all their help, and I want to thank the residents for all their patience and understanding.
I am proud to be a Janner and proud to stand up for this city. That is why on December 12, it is important you elect someone who will fight to get what we deserve. Vote Labour, Vote Luke.”
You can see some of Luke’s work around the removal of the cladding from the three tower blocks on Mount Wise estate here.