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Tory MP Andrew Bridgen apologises ‘unreservedly’ for defending Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell comments

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has apologised for his defence of Jacob Rees-Mogg (PA)

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has apologised for defending Jacob Rees-Mogg’s controversial comments about the Grenfell Tower victims.

Mr Bridgen came under fire after he said the Commons leader would have made a "better decision" than the authority figures who were giving the victims advice on the night of the tragedy.

However, Mr Bridgen has now used Twitter to say sorry following a huge backlash.

He wrote: “I realise that what I said was wrong and caused a great deal of distress and offence.

“It was not my intention to do so, and I do not want to add in any way to the pain that this tragic event has caused. I apologise unreservedly.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Monday that Grenfell victims should have used 'common sense' (AP)

Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC on Monday that Grenfell victims should have used "common sense" and ignored fire service guidance to remain in the burning tower block.

Speaking to Radio 4 on Tuesday, Mr Bridgen said: "Jacob is a good friend of mine and he is an extremely intelligent and compassionate human being and his comments regarding Grenfell were uncharacteristically clumsy.

"But I think we have to put them into the context of Jacob."

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When presenter Evan Davis asked Mr Bridgen if he believed Mr Rees-Mogg had meant to say “he would not have stayed put”, Mr Bridgen said: "That's what he meant to say.”

Mr Davis said: "That is exactly what people object to, which is, he is in effect saying, 'I wouldn't have died because I would be cleverer than the people who took the fire brigade's advice.’"

Mr Bridgen said: "But we want very clever people running the country, don't we, Evan? That is a by-product of what Jacob is, and that's why he is in a position of authority.

The Grenfell Tower fire claimed 72 lives (Getty)

"What he is actually saying is, he would have made a better decision than the authority figures who gave that advice.”

Mr Bridgen’s apology follows Mr Rees-Mogg’s own apology for his comments.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "I profoundly apologise. What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade's advice to stay and wait at the time.

"However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn't, and I don't think anyone else would.

"I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments.”

Reacting to Mr Rees-Mogg's apology, the Fire Brigades Union said Grenfell residents had been in a "terrifying, impossible" situation, and added: "It was... callously irresponsible for a senior government figure to suggest that the public should ignore firefighters when they are in a fire."

Andrew Gwynne, Labour's national campaign co-ordinator, said Mr Bridgen's comments were "contemptible" and that he should be removed as a parliamentary candidate.

Labour MP David Lammy said in a tweet that Mr Bridgen's comments were “unforgivable” and demanded his resignation.

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