Its clear that when a Minister stands up in Parliament or indeed in any public setting and makes a statement, that people sit up and listen. If the same thing was said by an MP there may be some interest, but few people would be that convinced. If the man on the Clapham (or Kensington) Omnibus was to speak out the prospect of anyone listening is even more diminished. The offices of state are supposed to go further than the views of the holder. If a Minister promises the Government will deal with a matter, that should carry more weight than their Ministry, or indeed their personal position. If Tesco or Sainsbury was to make a public statement that they were going to change their policies, this would be understood as more significant than if a local Manager was to speculate on what the company could do if it put its mind to a particular approach.
When Gavin Barwell stood up in the House of Commons on 24th October 2016 and was challenged about his plans for building regulations following the Lakanal House inquiry he said: “We have not set out any formal plans to review the buildings regulations as a whole. However, we have publicly committed to review Part B following the Lakanal House fire.” Even though Gavin is no longer the Minister for Housing, it is not unreasonable of people to ask what happened to that review? Indeed some people might feel that a letter to Councils recommending sprinkler systems be fitted was not much of a response to a terrible set of events which took place in 2009 and certainly does not constitute a review.