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GRENFELL MP Emma Dent Coad asked Prime Minister Theresa May today what she has to hide after it was revealed that cladding experts were banned from criticising her.
An investigation by The Times revealed that the engineering company WSP, which was given the job of testing government buildings for combustible cladding, was forced to sign non-disclosure agreements if they wanted to work.
Before carrying out the £100,000 job in June 2017 – just 12 days after the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 72 people – workers signed a contract which included a clause that they must not “embarrass” the Cabinet Office, or be “in any way connected to material adverse publicity” directed at Ms May.
The exposure comes as part of a wider investigation by The Times into non-disclosure agreements, which found that the government had banned over 300 companies and 40 charities from criticising them.
The revelation is expected to embarrass the Prime Minister, who recently vowed to clamp down on “unethical” non-disclosure agreements following the recent sleaze allegations against Sir Philip Green.
A spokesperson for WSP said: “We helped the Cabinet Office’s government property unit understand which types of cladding used across the UK government’s estate are unlikely to comply with building regulations so that the tragedy at Grenfell doesn’t ever happen again.”
Labour MP Ms Dent Coad, whose Kensington constituency includes Grenfell Tower, told the Star: “Soon after the Grenfell Tower fire, the Prime Minister said ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in the pursuit of justice.
“Given what we now know about the warnings, the reports, the determination to deregulate to the point of mortal danger – surely a gagging order such as this would be considered inappropriate?
“If we are to have anything like justice, and a future where people can be safe in their beds, full disclosure of unwelcome facts and opinions should be welcomed.
“We are left thinking, whatever does she have to hide?”
A government spokesperson said that the contracts were “standard” in the industry, and that the clause reasonably protects both the interests of the government and the company.
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