1. ITV Report

'They will never be forgotten' - Theresa May lays a wreath in unannounced visit to Grenfell church service

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

Theresa May has laid a wreath for the Grenfell Tower victims as she attended a church service in the shadow of the west London block - on the same day she apologised to survivors for her response of the disaster.

The prime minister placed a written tribute, which read: "In memory of all those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower. They will never be forgotten."

ITV News filmed the moments as she made the unannounced visit to St Clement's Church on Monday evening.

Mrs May placed the wreath outside the church and paused in reflection before walking into the evening service.

She spoke to health worker Barbette Mamengi during her visit before departing the church.

The prime minister paused in reflection after placing the wreath. Credit: ITV News
The floral wreath and written tribute. Credit: ITV News
Theresa May's written tribute. Credit: ITV News

Mrs May made the visit on the day she admitted she will "always regret" failing to meet survivors of the fire on her first visit to the scene, accepting "it seemed as though I didn't care".

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the disaster on Thursday, Mrs May said in a newspaper article she counted herself among those whose initial response was “not good enough”.

Writing in the Evening Standard, she wrote: “It was a tragedy unparalleled in recent history and, although many people did incredible work during and after the fire, it has long been clear that the initial response was not good enough.

“I include myself in that.”

The day after the disaster Mrs May visited the site to speak to firefighters but did not meet any of the residents.

Theresa May spoke to officials but not residents on her first visit to the scene of the blaze last year. Credit: PA

During a visit more than 48 hours after the inferno broke out she met a group of victims, volunteers and community leaders at a church close to the scene and faced cries of “coward” and “shame on you” from those gathered outside.

In a television interview at the time, she refused to be drawn on whether she had misread the public mood.

But in the article on Monday, the PM conceded she had made the wrong decision.

She added: “What I did not do on that first visit was meet the residents and survivors who had escaped the blaze.

“But the residents of Grenfell Tower needed to know that those in power recognised and understood their despair.

“And I will always regret that by not meeting them that day, it seemed as though I didn’t care.

“That was never the case.”