Queen Elizabeth II visits relief centre for victims of tower block inferno
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has visited a relief centre for victims of the fire in a London tower block that killed at least 30 people as criticism mounts on Prime Minister Theresa May over her response to the disaster.
The Queen and her grandson, Prince William, spoke to residents and members of the emergency services near the gutted Grenfell Tower on Friday morning (Saturday NZT), while May's office said she would visit victims in hospital.
On Thursday, May was pictured speaking to emergency workers, but was kept away from the public. Officials cited security concerns and suggested she didn't want to distract police and others from their work.
Reaction among Conservatives has ranged from criticism by former lawmakers to defensiveness by those serving in May's cabinet, adding to questions of whether May can survive politically.
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Michael Portillo, who was part of a Tory government in the 1990s, accused May on the BBC of wanting "an entirely controlled situation in which she didn't use her humanity".
Authorities warned the death toll will continue to mount as they search the block, which housed hundreds of people, adding to pressure on May after last week's disastrous election.
May's visits have been contrasted to one by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who ran a campaign promising to end austerity.
Corbyn met with members of the public and was pictured hugging tearful relatives of victims near the charred building.
As the search for missing people enters its third day, anger among the residents was still palpable but they are less keen to talk as television cameras swarm the scene. There is a sense, from conversations with locals, that people have had enough with the VIP visits, even when it is the Queen.
A man with a megaphone, shouting about the lack of a government response, drew a crowd of some 20 people as the police looked on.
British papers reflected the public mood. The Sun ran a headline on its cover, "Now the Anger," while the Mirror had a single word: "Criminal." The Times said the recently refurbished tower block had been fitted with cladding that wasn't fireproof, and that for less than £5000 pounds (NZ$8800), a fire-resistant version could have been used instead.