Theresa May offers personal apology to Grenfell families

Theresa May has offered a personal and public apology to families caught up in the Grenfell Tower fire for the first time as she acknowledged failures in the disaster response.

The Prime Minister said the initial support on the ground for households had fallen short "when they needed it most".

"As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure," she said in a speech to the House of Commons.

Her apology was met by cheers and cries of "hear, hear" from MPs.

At least 79 people were left dead following last week's fire at the west London tower block, with police warning that number may raise further.

Many others escaped the block but were left homeless and with only they clothes they were wearing.

Today Mrs May described meeting a woman who had fled wearing only a t-shirt and knickers and had "lost everything".

Flowers left in memory to those who died and were injured. Credit: PA

Mrs May had previously acknowledged that the support given to those caught up in the disaster "was not good enough", but she had stopped short of saying sorry herself.

That had been criticised by some survivors, amid a response that has seen many families left struggling to make ends meet and facing uncertainty over where they would be rehomed.

Mrs May had also faced anger after she initially failed to meet with victims of the fire on her first visit to the site of the fire.

A woman looks at poster of the missing. Credit: PA

Today she stressed that she was "taking responsibility for doing what we can to put things right".

She has announced that every household who lost their home would be given cash payments of at least £5,500 and would be rehomed within three weeks.

She reiterated there will be an independent public inquiry.