Andrea Leadsom gets flak as anger mounts over May's empathy deficit
Watch: One local resident put the minister on the spot.
Theresa May’s failure to meet victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze was underlined today when a minister was scolded by angry members of the public.
Asked why the prime minister was avoiding the public, Andrea Leadsom insisted that May was “doing everything she can”.
May’s former leadership rival added: “I’m sure if it felt that would be helpful then she would do that”.
But she was told to her face by one angry member of the public: “Corbyn is a good man. He came and he met the people. He didn't come with a bunch of police. No one saw her."
Turning on the local authority cuts imposed by the Conservatives, the man added: “Because of saving money people are dying."
The confrontation came as May has been widely criticised for meeting emergency workers but failing to meet victims.
Speaking on the BBC’s This Week programme, Conservative grandee Michael Portillo said that May wanted “an entirely controlled situation in which she didn’t use her humanity”.
The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee has said May’s actions showed she was “dead to emotion and empathy”.
Writing for The Telegraph, Jane Merrick stated that “that the aftermath of this disaster casts serious doubt on her political and humanitarian instincts”.
Huffington Post Politics editor Paul Waugh wrote this morning: “If Grenfell turns out to be a defining moment in our nation’s modern history, the defining political image could well be that grainy, long-lens shot of a prime minister talking to emergency services but not to local people.”
And writing on Twitter, broadcaster Jeremy Vine agreed that the prime minister’s failure to speak to was “starting to look like a defining moment for Theresa May”.