A newly-appointed Grenfell Tower fire inquiry panel member has resigned after she was linked to the charitable arm of a firm which supplied the tower block’s deadly cladding.
Benita Mehra tendered her resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
She said she recognised and respected the “depth of feeling” among some about her appointment to the inquiry.
Downing Street has accepted her resignation while maintaining there was no conflict of interest.
The prime minister thanked Ms Mehra for her commitment and said he was “grateful for her sensitivity to the work of the inquiry”.
It was announced shortly before Christmas that the engineer would replace academic Prof Nabeel Hamdi on the panel for the second phase of the inquiry, which is due to begin this year.
It was first reported by the Guardian that Ms Mehra is an immediate past president of the Women’s Engineering Society which, according to the society’s website, last year received funding from the Arconic Foundation for an apprentice conference.
Arconic supplied the cladding on the outside of the west London tower block, which caught fire on 14 June 2017, claiming 72 lives.
A report – following the first phase of the public inquiry into the fire – found in October last year that the tower block’s cladding did not comply with building regulations and was the “principal” reason for the fire’s rapid and “profoundly shocking” spread.
Arconic said a “confluence of unfortunate circumstances” rather than the “mere presence” of the panels had caused the spread of the fire.
It added that the grant was made by its charitable arm, the Arconic Foundation, which is “an independently endowed and managed foundation”.