UK Housing Secretary Michael Cove has warned Mercedes that the government may consider changing advertising laws to ban the display of the Kingspan logo on team cars.
In a letter to Toto Wolff, the leader of the Mercedes team, Gove said there were “real questions” as to whether the UK Parliament would accept the team’s partnership with construction company Kingspan as “in the public interest”.
Mercedes’ announcement of a partnership with Grenfell United Group Kingspan, the families of the survivors and victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, caught fire in a residential complex, killing 72 people.
The panel described the sponsorship deal as “really shocking”, citing evidence uncovered during a public hearing on the tragedy, revealing that Kingspan’s management may have misled officials about the fire safety performance of its salvage products installed at the Grenfell Tower. Cove expressed his disapproval of the deal on social media.
Wolfe responded publicly yesterday to Greenfell United’s public letter, apologizing for the group’s sponsorship deal with Kingspan for the “extra harm” done to families, and proposing to meet with the panel to discuss these concerns.
Grenfell United responded, “Only meaningful action against those responsible can move towards a legacy of change. Our 72 relatives will be remembered, not the horrible way they died.”
Following Wolff’s letter yesterday, Cove gave a second reply to Mercedes that the British government and parliament would consider taking action to address the concerns of the Grenfell families.
“As Secretary of State, I have a legal responsibility to plan restrictions on outdoor advertising space in the UK,” Cove said in a letter to Wolf.
“At present, advertisements displayed on closed terraces in stadiums or vehicles are generally excluded from the direct control of competent authorities. My Cabinet colleagues and I will keep this system under constant and rigorous scrutiny to ensure that the advertising regime is in line with the objective and in the public interest.
“I know there are real questions as to whether Parliament will support the rule of law allowing a federal participant in the public hearing on how 72 people lost their lives to publicizing their products to millions of families across the country.”
Cove asked Mercedes to reconsider its contract with Kingspan, believing it would tarnish the reputation of the team and its driver Louis Hamilton in the eyes of the British public.
“The achievements of Mercedes and Sir Louis Hamilton in recent years reflect a British success story that we can all be proud of,” Cove continued.
“I hope you will reconsider this business partnership, which will undermine all the good work that the company and the sport have been doing,” he added.
The second phase of the public inquiry into the 2017 fire is set to resume next Monday.
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