John McDonnell has stood by his claim the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze were murdered, and called for politicians to be “held to account” over the deaths

The Sun reported that McDonnell had since made a private apology over the comments to London based MPs, after numerous colleagues refused to endorse his choice of language.

But speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, the Hayes and Harlington MP was defiant when asked if regretted describing the deaths of at least 80 people in the inferno as murder.

“No I don’t regret that. I was extremely angry with what went on,” he replied.

When pushed, McDonnell added: “Political decisions were made which resulted in the deaths of these people. That’s a scandal.

“There’s a long history in this country of the concept of social murder where decisions are made with no regards to the consequences of that and as a result of that people have suffered.

“I believe social murder has occurred in this instance and I believe that people should be held accountable.

When asked by Marr who the murderers are, the Shadow Chancellor replied: “I think there’s been a consequence of political decisions over the years that have not addressed the housing crisis that we’ve had, that have cut back on local government, so proper inspections have not been made – cutback 11,000 firefighters jobs as well, even the investment in aerial ladders and things like that in our country.

He added: “I believe the politicians need to be held to account.”

Appearing on the same show after McDonnell, Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond hit back at the accusation, saying: “That’s a disgraceful suggestion in line with many other things John McDonnell has said over the years.

“There’s not shred of evidence to support that.

“It was a terrible tragedy but of course we must wait for the outcome of the public enquiry to understand exactly what happened and learn the lessons from it, and we will learn the lessons from it.”