Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Update 2.49pm: Theresa May has endured another difficult reception following her latest visit to meet residents of Grenfell Tower.

Video footage obtained by ITV News showed the British Prime Minister being booed as she left a meeting on Wednesday evening.

Mrs May did not appear to respond as she was ushered into her official car by waiting security officers following the unannounced visit.

She told the House of Commons on Thursday that she had been to North Kensington to meet a group of residents who came to Downing Street at the weekend to hear from them about the progress that was being made.

Last week, Mrs May was met with cries of "Coward" and "Shame on you" when she went to meet residents, having been criticised for only talking to the emergency services on an earlier visit.

Her response to the tragedy opened up renewed questions about her leadership after seeing her Commons majority wiped out in the June 8 General Election.

In the Commons Queen's Speech debate on Wednesday, the Prime Minister apologised for the failings of the authorities in the aftermath of the fire.

Update 12.22pm: Hundreds of tower blocks in England could be covered in similar material to Grenfell Tower, Downing Street has admitted.

So far tests have revealed that combustible cladding has been found on at least three tower blocks across the UK, the British government has said.

Downing Street said English councils estimated that 600 high-rise buildings used "similar cladding" to the block in west London which was the scene of tragedy last week.

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

In a sign of confusion in Whitehall, the Department for Communities and Local Government said the estimate referred to buildings over 18 metres high with aluminium cladding - not necessarily of a similar type to that used at Grenfell.

Councils were told to provide the Government with details of the cladding used on high-rises by Monday and three samples were found to be combustible after tests on a "small number" of specimens.

Flammable panelling on the outside of Grenfell Tower is suspected to have aided the rapid spread of last week’s blaze, trapping dozens inside.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is coordinating the process and facilities allow for 100 samples a day to be tested.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: "So far, three samples have been found to be combustible."

She added: "In terms of how many buildings and how many homes have this type of cladding, the estimate provided to us by councils is that there are approximately 600 high-rise buildings with similar cladding.

"We are in touch with all the local authorities to encourage them to urgently send us the samples and then we will carry out the checks that we need to see where we are with that."

In blocks where the cladding is found to be combustible "we will do a further test to make sure the building is safe" and residents could be rehomed.

"Obviously nobody will be living in buildings that are unsafe, they will be rehoused if they need to be and landlords will be asked to provide alternative accommodation where that’s possible," the spokeswoman said.

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Earlier:

Combustible cladding has been found on at least three tower blocks across the UK, the British government has said.

The at-risk buildings are not being identified until the landlords have had the opportunity to inform tenants, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Councils were told to provide the British government with details of the cladding used on high-rises by Monday and three samples were found to be combustible.

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Flammable panelling on the outside of Grenfell Tower is suspected to have aided the rapid spread of last week’s blaze, trapping dozens inside.

The department said it had been carrying out checks on the panels of council towers after receiving the reports back from local authorities.

It comes as the Prime Minister announced that a probe into whether cladding in Grenfell Tower met fire safety regulations will be published in the next 48 hours.

Theresa May faced questions over whether the material had passed fire and building safety tests when the West London tower block had been refurbished.

Calls were made for combustible materials to be banned in tower blocks during an urgent Commons statement on the deadly fire.

Pressed by Labour’s Hilary Benn on the whether the cladding had been deemed safe, Mrs May said: "My understanding is the fire service and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) - and BRE were there on the scene very early to look at this issue - they have been identifying the cause of the fire and any contributory factors to the fire.

"They are testing the cladding on the building and they expect to make the results of this public, I think in the next 48 hours."

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake led calls for an immediate ban on combustible materials within residential tower blocks and urged ministers to increase pressure on councils to do safety checks when converting non-residential buildings for housing.

Responding, Mrs May told MPs: "What we need to ensure is that when the fire services, when the police have done their investigation, that any action that is necessary immediately as a result of the identification of the cause of the fire and the reasons why the fire took such hold - which is the issue that is of particular concern, then any action that is necessary is taken and it will be taken."

Amid calls for landlords to be given incentives to retro-fit sprinklers, she warned that "in not all cases will it be the case that the retro-fitting of sprinklers is actually going to be the thing that makes the difference".

Latest: Footage shows Theresa May being booed after meeting with Grenfell Tower residents

Labour’s Yvette Cooper asked Mrs May why she could not tell the Commons whether the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was compliant with building regulations for a building of the same height.

Mrs May asked MPs to remember that there was a criminal investigation under way, and said: "The testing of the cladding, the testing of the materials used is being undertaken and a statement will be made by the police and the fire service within the next 48 hours."

Warnings that the insulation used in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment was flammable had been published on the website of its manufacturer.

Celotex confirmed that it supplied its RS5000 insulation for the £8.6m renovation of the block.

According to details published online, the material "will burn if exposed to a fire of sufficient heat and intensity".

It has also been speculated that if a rain-proof layer had been added to the building a small cavity could have been created, which acted as a wind tunnel and accelerated the spread of the flames.

RS5000, according to Celotex’s website, has a Class 0 rating under UK building regulations, meaning it has the highest rating for preventing the spread of flames and prevents the spread of heat.

However, its "health and safety datasheet" notes: "The products will burn if exposed to a fire of sufficient heat and intensity.

"As with all organic materials, toxic gases will be released with combustion."

Design specifications suggest the renovation work carried out at Grenfell Tower included plans for a 50mm "ventilated cavity" next to 150mm of Celotex FR5000 insulation, which also has a Class 0 rating.

Mrs May faced pressure from Labour MPs after failing to commit the Government to funding any improvement works on other tower blocks.

The Prime Minister said: "The Government is working with local authorities.

"We will ensure that any essential works that are necessary, in terms of remedial action for safety of these blocks in relation to fire, are taken.

"There will be different circumstances in different local authorities.

"We will ensure that the work can be undertaken."

The testing facilities for existing cladding to check fire safety were being provided to councils by the Government, she added.

Westminster North MP Karen Buck said: "I’m still waiting for the Prime Minister to say she will underwrite the costs to local authorities of inspection and urgent remedial action.

"Given the cuts of up to a third and a half on local authority budgets and housing providers being required to implement a rent cut, which has squeezed their budget, we cannot have a postcode lottery in terms of safety provision."

Former shadow minister Rachel Reeves added: "Whatever recommendations are made, on sprinklers, on cladding, on fire alarms and other remedial work, that it will be central government that is providing the funds to ensure that tenants and residents in all of those thousands of tower blocks across the country are safe."

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