Michael Gove has stated that the government is partially to blame for the Grenfell Tower tragedy due to “faulty and ambiguous” government guidance.
The guidance also allowed “unscrupulous people to exploit a broken system in a way that led to tragedy,” according to the housing secretary.
He made the admission in an interview with The Sunday Times while imposing a deadline on dangerous blocks.
In June 2017, a fire at a residential tower block in North Kensington, west London, killed 72 people and prompted a public inquiry.
The inquiry, presided over by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, has yet to issue its final report.
The evidence presented to the inquiry revealed that official guidance was widely perceived to allow highly flammable cladding on tall buildings.
When asked if he thought the rules were wrong, Mr Gove said, “Yes.
“There was an ineffective regulatory system. The government did not think hard enough about building safety, nor did it police it effectively enough. Undoubtedly.”
“I believe that (the guidance) was so flawed and ambiguous that it allowed unscrupulous people to take advantage of a broken system in a way that resulted in tragedy,” Mr Gove added.
It follows the conclusion of the inquiry’s final hearing in November, which found that firms appeared to have used the inquiry to “position themselves for any legal proceedings” that may follow, rather than showing remorse.
In closing arguments, lead counsel Richard Millett KC accused companies of engaging in a “merry go round of buck-passing” to protect their own interests.