Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick will lead an independent inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, it emerged on Thursday 29 June. Moore-Bick, 70, stood down as a court of appeal judge in December 2016 after almost three decades in the judiciary.

An honorary fellow of Christ's College, University of Cambridge, he became a barrister in 1969, a judge in 1986 and an Lord Justice of Appeal in 2005, when he was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council of elite advisers.

Moore-Bick will use his vast experience to investigate the west London disaster, which has left at least 80 people dead and many others homeless.

But the married father-of-four's appointment does not come without controversy.

In 2014 Moore-Bick ruled in favour of Westminster City Council that a single-mother of four, Titina Nzolameso, who is also HIV-positive and a diabetes sufferer, could be housed 50 miles away from her London home, in Bletchley, Milton Keynes.

Nzolameso, who had lived in London since at least January 2000, later took the case to the Supreme Court, the highest court in England and Wales, and overturned Moore-Bick's judgement.

"There is little to suggest that serious consideration was given to the authority's obligations before the decision was taken to offer the property in Bletchley," said Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court.

"At that stage, the temporary lettings team knew little more than what was on the homelessness application form."

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised that Grenfell Tower residents will be given a say in the direction of the inquiry. The government has also established a £5m fund to help the victims of the fire.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick's career

  • Educated at The Skinners' School, Tunbridge Wells.
  • Graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge.
  • Became a barrister in 1969.
  • Appointed a High Court judge in 1995.
  • Became a Court of Appeal judge in 2005.
  • Appointed vice president of the Court of Appeal in 2014.

Elsewhere, local authorities across the UK have also been encouraged to submit samples of cladding on high-rise flats to see if the material is combustible. May told MPs on Wednesday that 120 tower blocks in 37 local authority areas had failed the tests.

"Given the 100% failure rate, we are very clear with local authorities and housing associations – they should not wait for test results, they should get on with the job of the fire safety checks and, indeed, they are doing that," she said. "And they should take any action necessary and the government will support them in doing that."

The comments came during the first prime minister's questions (PMQs) of the new parliament, with an emboldened Jeremy Corbyn, who secured 30 extra seats for Labour, blaming the Grenfell fire on the "disastrous effects" of austerity.

"When you cut local authority budgets by 40% we all pay a price in public safety. Fewer inspectors, fewer building control inspectors, fewer planning inspectors – we all pay a price. And those cut to the fire service mean there are 11,000 fewer firefighters," he said. "This disaster must be a wake-up call."

grenfell tower
People gather outside Kensington Town Hall to demand justice for those affected by the fire that gutted Grenfell Tower Getty