Grenfell: 'Council cabinet must resign or be removed,' demand opposition

Grenfell: 'Council cabinet must resign or be removed,' demand opposition
2 min read
29 June, 2017
The leaders of Kensington and Chelsea Council have been condemned in the strongest terms as opposition councillors call for the government to send in commissioners.
Council chiefs responsible for the upkeep of Grenfell Tower must resign in disgrace, the leader of the council's opposition said on Thursday evening.

Kensington and Chelsea's cabinet should hand in their resignations and allow the government to send in commissioners, the leader of the local Labour group demanded.

"We are now ten days into this tragedy and the council are not in control of the situation and the political leadership of this council is non-existent," said Robert Atkinson.

"It's time for the government to intervene and remove the council's control over housing."

The leader of the council, Nicholas Paget-Brown, read out a brief statement at the monthly cabinet meeting before adjourning.

The leader added that the meeting was adjourned because the presence of journalists meant they couldn't "have an unprejudiced discussion".

When challenged on this point, he said the council was responding to legal advice, adding that the meeting would prejudice an upcoming public inquiry.

"Given the public inquiry, we want to ensure our meetings do not descend into informal inquiries without all the facts to hand," Paget-Brown said

The council had previously barred all members of the press and public from attending the meeting, but were forced to admit accredited journalists by a last-minute court order.

The opposition leader reacted angrily and berated the Conservative-led cabinet for their "incompetence" in responding to the Grenfell Fire disaster.

"I was hoping I would get a bit of humility and an explanation from the council for their ineptitude," said Atkinson.

"All we got were more platitudes and expressions of regret - ten days in, those expressions are no longer good enough."

Paget-Brown gave a public apology for the council's response to the tragedy, before later telling reporters he would not be resigning in the foreseeable future.

"I do apologise here and to you and if anybody feels that Kensington and Chelsea should have been doing more, we've been trying to do all that we possibly can."

The leader said the reputation of the council was "tarnished and diminished".

In a public statement released after the meeting, the leader said: "We are under sustained media criticism for a slow reaction to the fire, non-visibility and for failing to invest in North Kensington.

"I believe that many of these criticisms need to be challenged and over time they will be, but I can think of nothing more demeaning to the memory of those lost and missing in the fire than seeking the resolution of political scores."

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