A SOMERSET MP has defended her vote against amendments to the Government's Fire Safety Bill which the Opposition say would have ensured recommendations made after the Grenfell tower block tragedy were implemented.

On September 7, the Government's Fire Safety Bill was voted through Parliament.

Labour introduced a number of amendments to the Bill aimed at putting the implementation of a number of safety recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry's first phase, into law.

But the amendments - which included requiring owners or managers of flats to share design information with the fire service, carry out regular inspections of lifts and entrance doors, and sharing evacuation information with residents - were voted down by 188 votes to 318, a majority of 130.

The Government claims the Bill had to be brought into law before the changes could be made, and that it is working to implement the recommendations as fast as possible, with a consultation over measures ending on October 12.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the rejection of the amendments a 'shameful dereliction of duty'.

Somerset MPs Marcus Fysh (Yeovil), Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset), John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare), Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) and David Warburton (Somerton and Frome), voted against the amendments.

No vote was recorded for Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset).

The vote prompted strong backlash, including from the Fire brigades Union, which tweeted: "Every single Tory MP who voted against this amendment should hang their heads in shame."

But Taunton Deane MP Ms Pow defended her vote.

She said: “The Opposition know how legislation works and I deeply regret they sought to mislead and confuse the issue.

“I am determined to see the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations implemented swiftly and without delay and I will continue to raise concerns from my constituents in Parliament at every opportunity.”

“I voted against the Opposition motion for two reasons,” Ms Pow added.

Somerset County Gazette:

VOTE: Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow

“The first is that the subject of the amendments is already included in an on-going public consultation on fire safety that ends on October 12. The amendments would in no way have sped up the process for the necessary changes to be made to legislation.

“In some areas, not only is the consultation proposing to implement the recommendations as set out by the Inquiry but to go further still. If the Government were to cut across the current consultation, it would risk creating a legal challenge and potentially require another consultation.

“The second reason is that significant legal and regulatory changes need public scrutiny, input and transparency, which is what a public consultation provides. Indeed, changes under the Fire Safety Order must be consulted on.

“Under the defeated amendments, regulations would still have had to have been drafted. As soon as the Fire Safety Bill has passed – and this has to come first – the Government has said it will move at pace to see that the regulations are put in place as fast as possible.”