Lily Allen attacks politicians over Grenfell Tower and claims number of fatalities is being downplayed

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Moya Crockett
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Lily Allen has criticised the media for allegedly supressing the extent of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The singer, who grew up in west London and lives close to the tower, has been volunteering to help those affected by the fire. In an interview on Channel 4 News and on social media, she accused the “mainstream media” of failing to give an accurate estimate of fatalities.

Allen also appeared to suggest that she was pulled as a guest from Newsnight for speaking out about the fire.

Speaking to Channel 4’s Jon Snow, Allen said that she felt “like the government is trying to micro-manage people’s grieving here.

“I have never in my entire life seen an event like this where the death count has been downplayed by the mainstream media,” she continued.

At the time of Allen’s interview with Snow, the official death toll stood at 17. Thirty people have since been confirmed dead as a result of the blaze. 

Responding to the figure of 17 fatalities, Allen said: “I’m sorry, but I’m hearing from people that the figure is much closer to 150, and that many of those people are children.

“Those are off the record numbers I’ve been given from policeman and from firemen,” Allen continued.

She rejected the suggestion, made by Snow and by others on Twitter, that an accurate estimate of the death toll could be difficult to provide, due to difficulties identifying bodies at the early stages of the investigation.

She added that she believed that inaccurate reporting was “denying [survivors] the chance to start the grieving process. I’d say it’s really psychologically damaging.”

Allen was scheduled to appear on BBC Two current affairs programme Newsnight on Thursday evening, but learned that she had been dropped from the show after her interview aired on Channel 4 News.

“I’m sad to say @BBCNewsnight just cancelled me for tonight’s show,” Allen wrote on Twitter. “They have someone from the council coming on instead.”

Newsnight editor Ian Katz denied that Allen had been pulled from the show in an attempt to silence her.

As well as the 30 people who have now been confirmed dead, the latest figures from NHS England say that 24 survivors are still being treated in London hospitals. Twelve of those in critical care.  

However, the death toll is expected to rise significantly in the coming days. More than 70 people remain unaccounted for, and Met police commander Stuart Cundy has said that no more survivors are expected to be recovered from the building.

In response to the allegation that more than 100 people could have died in the fire, Cundy said: “I hope it is not triple figures, but I can’t be drawn on the numbers.”

On Twitter, Allen said: “What’s left of [Grenfell Tower] serves as a horrendous metaphor for how the Conservatives are running this country.

“A country can only be measured by how well it treats its most vulnerable, what has happened here at Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea would suggest to me that this country is not measuring up well. At all.”

Main image: Channel 4