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11 May, 2018 12:31

‘Human-sized sock puppet’: Awkward picture of Theresa May posing with Grenfell artist stirs backlash

‘Human-sized sock puppet’: Awkward picture of Theresa May posing with Grenfell artist stirs backlash

Prime Minister Theresa May is being slammed on social media after a picture emerged of her looking “hollow” as she stands side-by-side with a Grenfell artist.

The picture of the Tory leader and artist Damel Carayol, who presented her with a canvas of the burnt-down Grenfell Tower, with the caption: “Eyesore! Last straw!” prompted widespread backlash against the PM. Her particularly neutral expression inspired Twitter users to accuse her of “not giving a toss” about delivering justice for the Grenfell community.

The picture was taken as May met Grenfell residents to discuss their call to introduce a panel with decision-making powers as part of an inquiry due to start later this month into the fire that killed 71 people on June 14 last year.

The meeting at Westminster came ahead of a parliamentary debate next week, which was triggered by a 10,000-strong petition, launched by grime artist Stormzy, calling for improvement in public trust in the inquiry.

Carayol described how he decided to produce the canvas when he heard that flammable cladding had been put on the North Kensington tower to improve its aesthetics.

He told Sky News “that tipped me over the edge... it was pure anger. I didn't plan or think, I just grabbed my one canvas that was left.”

Nabil Choucair, who lost six family members in the fire and who attended the meeting, said he was “really upset and disgusted with how she has handled it and dealt with it.”

May replied to the residents’ request for a panel and the petition by saying that she would “reflect on it,” Choucair added. He continued: “It's like we're talking and it's going in but then out the other ear.” It is now understood May has caved in to pressure to extend the panel for the inquiry to accommodate the residents' requests.

People started sharing the image of the PM with Carayol on Twitter.

One user reported on where the painting may end up:

Another felt the PM bore more of an angry expression than an apathetic one, while another suggested none of her Tory government are sorry for what occurred in the Kensington and Chelsea council, which was still held by the Conservatives at the time.

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