D-notice update #Grenfell

EDIT: the SKWAWKBOX is now satisfied that no D-notice was issued. No plain answer to this blog’s question of other restrictions on information about lives lost at Grenfell has yet been provided, but a ‘D-notice’ (or DSMA-notice as they are now termed) was not.

This morning, Grime artist Saskilla told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that he had been told personally by one of the firefighters at Grenfell Tower that around two hundred bodies had already been identified at the scene of the terrifying blaze. The presenter attempted to pour water on the figure, but the musician insisted it was what he was told in person by the firefighter.

Last night, music star Lily Allen was pulled from an appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight after making similar comments and accusing the government of trying to ‘micromanage people’s grieving’:

Ms Allen was pilloried in the media. The confirmed death toll has increased incrementally since the fire and today rose to thirty.

At the same time, multiple sources told the SKWAWKBOX that the government has placed a ‘D-notice’ (now properly named a ‘DSMA-notice’ and sometimes called a ‘DA Notice’) on the real number of deaths in the blaze:


In effect, although voluntary, this amounts to a gag on the mainstream media – and note that it is applied for for reasons of national security only.

The SKWAWKBOX telephoned the Home Office press office to ask directly whether this was true. To say that the question caused consternation at the other end of the line would not be an overstatement.

The first comment, in a voice that rose at least half an octave, was ‘Where did you get that information?‘, followed by a request for the question by email, even though the SKWAWKBOX editor emphasised that ‘Have you issued a D-notice’ is a very straightforward, ‘yes/no’ question.

The question has been submitted by email but no response has been provided yet, in spite of a repeat call to the Home Office to advise that publication was imminent.

Since the first call, further people have contacted this blog with the same assertion. The Home Office’s official response will be published if/when one is received.

Reports have also been received about intimidation of locals to prevent disclosure or speculation about the true known death toll.

If it is true that the government has issued a D-notice – and every instinct is screaming that it is – then the government has placed a national security gag on mainstream news editors to prevent them from disclosing what’s already known about the number of lives lost at Grenfell Tower.

This raises a huge question: WHY?.

Is there a national security aspect to this information that has not yet been hinted at?

Or is the Tory government inflating its own party interests into a national security issue in order to control the flow of information that will damage the Tory government and party, allowing it to ‘drip-feed’ a slow increase in the number of confirmed deaths in order to manage public outrage?

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  1. Just watched a local resident on Sky News saying he has seen body bags being carried out the building after 10:30pm, presumably containing bodies. I wonder if that will be repeated?

    1. WHY?
      It is difficult to understand why the actual numbers found dead can’t be announced. The only reason for withholding the actual death toll is to manage the outrage of the public.

      1. NY post and other US sources estimated occupancy of tower at up to 500 people. Logic dictates death toll sadly will be in the hundreds, due to rapid spread of fire and inability to reach victims on higher floor. NOW the US media has gone silent on it, quite a bit of reporting last night. Pretty effective media blackout.

      2. This is not what I said my comment has been edited. I said identifying bodies and counting bodies are two separate things. It’s simple you go 1 pile of charred remains, 2 piles of charred remains, 3 piles of charred remains and so on.
        Or are we expected to believe our government can not count?

  2. If this is true and D notices have been issued then I can only see one valid reason for doing so. In these highly charged political times whilst the masses are no longer taking as gospel the lies being told to people for over 40 years the government is taking small steps to avoid a major confrontation with the masses. However yet again the government are reading the situation in one way and taking action that only inflames what has been created via the D notice or notices. John Macs notion of holding mass demonstrations of over a million people will have the Army put on alert .

  3. We do not NEED an estimate of how many died. The number of SURVIVORS is enough.

  4. Utter tosh and nonsense – time enough to cease with such fake news. Those who perished deserve dignity not propaganda to serve the left wing cause. Shame on you…

  5. It appears that the headline is untrue, unless the Daily Mirror is lying to us as well.


    In any event as has been pointed out elsewhere, international media organisations would not be covered by a (now correctly titled) DSMA notice, and El Pais in Spain, Le Monde in France and the New York Times for example are reporting the Met Police’s number.

    “Fake news” in politics is bad enough, but in this case it’s in very poor taste.

      1. Note the position of the quotation marks, people. This blog takes no responsibility for people’s ability to read carefully.

    1. When the 07/07/05 attack happened believe it or not I was getting more information from outlets in Brazil where I am from then the media in London.
      This is reality I’m afraid.

  6. All you have to do is work it out for yourself; if as suggested by one of the graphics shown there are 4 double and 2 single apartments on each floor and 23 floors. So assume 2 people in each double and 1 in each single as a mimimum, then 4×2=8 +2=10. X23 =230, not counting children.
    30 perished, 47? In hospital leaves 153 unaccounted for!!. They’re clearly not walking around the building looking for relatives and uncontactable by phone so the awful truth suggests a total of 183 or thereabouts??
    The fact remains, this despicable government cares more about the window views of the 1% than the safety of the 99%.

  7. Come on, Steve. This is more than likely bollocks. They’re only advisory anyway.

    There’s more than enough to be hugely angry about already, At the moment, I’m pretty fearful for council employees getting home from work safely.

  8. So why no simple and immediate response from the Home Office to deny that there is any D notice in effect .More concerning is the rather to quick for comfort announcement of a public inquiry , this has to be a criminal or at least a corners inquiry .Torys must NOT be allowed to cover this up and get away with the consequences of their dogma by controlling the terms of ANY inquiry

      1. The question to the SKWAWKBOX, as the follow-up article showed, was not restricted to D-notices. Knew people might have the term wrong, so made it about any type of restriction – and that question has still not been answered.

      2. Just for clarity my 1,2 3 comment was a response to Rob.

  9. The lack of any ‘numbers’ is very suspicious to me. I haven’t seen any Residents, Hospital, deceased, accounted for, unaccounted for figure. This is normal in similar situations and it’s suspicious that it isn’t happening now.

  10. At least Skwawkbox eventually has the decency to admit that his multiple sources were all concurrently misinformed or lying to him.

    1. Three sources getting their information from a common source who was misinformed about the type of restriction is not that hard to imagine.

      1. I think that’s the problem. If I’m reading your post correctly one person’s (to be charitable) misperception morphed into multiple sources just because he or she passed on that misperception to three others. In other words the sources weren’t independent. of each other, which I understand to be one of the bases of good journalism.

        And it appears that neither the first, the second to fourth nor yourself carried out the most basic 5 minute check on Google to establish what the notice is properly called, how it is actually agreed with the media before promulgation, and who promulgates it.

  11. The “official” response has been seriously complicated by the storming of Kensington Town Hall while the staff were trying to get their act together on relief supplies and accommodation. Do those responsible want to help or simply make political points?

      1. I’m not sure it’s’ “victim blaming” to suggest that a number of people banging on one’s office door might be a distraction from whatever work one is carrying out, whether it be disaster related or not.

        Whatever the failings of the Council as a whole, I would imagine that there were some seriously worried completely blameless junior clerks and the like in that building yesterday.

  12. More fake news as leftie sickos try to dress the corpses in red roses for party political gain.

    Why not go the whole hog and post a banner headline about May spitting on the dead?

    1. Letting this comment stand because it shows the absolute intellectual – as well as moral – bankruptcy of the right.

    2. @Trump.

      There wouldn’t be a banner headline, or a mention anywhere in an article that may spat on the dead, because the Skwawkbox ISN’T a murdoch.

      Nor would any ‘leftie sicko’ pretend to be related to a victim, in order to get an interview with a victim.

      I want my tax that paid for your ‘education’ , back. Nuckfugget.

  13. It seems the government are trying to minimise the disaster by pretending fewer died. No list of residents/tenants has been released so nobody knows how many people were crammed in there but the truth will come out in the end. There is no list of those in hospital either.

  14. Surely ‘national security’ is inclusive of people having the right to know what is going on?!

    1. This was public housing. Are we to believe the landlord did not know who was living there? And has made no effort to check who survived? Does RBKC have a duty to rehouse them? So wouldn’t it by now know how many people need rehousing?

      Or does it not care?

      1. I’m not sure how that works.

        Does the Council know the size of every tenant’s family?

        It certainly can’t know who was visiting or absent at the time of the tragedy.

        There’s much being made of the government “hiding” the number of casualties.

        Occam’s razor tells us that it’s much more likely that the horrific nature of the disaster means that no one can or will know for some time to come.

  15. Why did you decide there was no D notice applied? If that’s the case, then why are the media still not releasing information? I’ve seen a list compiled by residents with details of survivors, missing and people killed. There must also be an official record of this, so why are they downplaying it? They can’t really be hoping it will drop out of the news?

    1. A D-notice is a very specific thing. A brigadier would have to be lying outright and there’s no evidence for that. Pretty clear there is *some* kind of restriction in place, but it doesn’t appear to be a D-notice per se.

      1. What kind of restriction have you in mind that would prevent journalists reporting “the truth”?

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