Council leader apologises to Grenfell Tower survivors

Nicholas Paget-Brown

Image caption

Nicholas Paget-Brown has publicly apologised to survivors

The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council has publicly apologised to the survivors of Grenfell Tower but said he would not be resigning.

Nicholas Paget-Brown refuted claims the tragedy showed the authority had failed the community.

He told BBC London the council had “a proud history of investment in north Kensington”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the entire leadership of the council to resign in the wake of the tragedy.

The mayor also said the disaster was the result of “years of neglect”.

But so far the only person to resign has been the chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council, Nicholas Holgate.

Image caption

Mr Paget-Brown said the council asked for help from the government “quite quickly”

Mr Paget-Brown said the Grenfell Tower fire is “the biggest tragedy to hit London since the end of the Second World War”.

He said he had not apologised directly to a survivor but said he needed “to apologise if the response on the ground to the tragedy has not been quick enough or not appropriate enough or on the scale that is needed”.

“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,” he added.

‘Needed help’

Asked why the council did not ask for help from outside the borough or from the government more quickly, the council leader said: “We did do that quite quickly.

“We had gold meetings, which is the sort of centralised command meetings, twice on the Wednesday so we could see what we had locally and what me might need [from] elsewhere .

“Then the London gold command came in shortly after that and we’ve had to work both with the borough and the London gold command.

“We let it known that we needed help quite early in the proceedings. I can’t tell you exactly at what time of the day but it became quite clear that we would not be able to cope on our own.

“On the morning of Wednesday I believe the Cabinet Office met in Cobra and we had a gold session in the council here and I think we worked quite closely to make sure that all the different parties, all the different partners that you need were able to help as quickly as possible.”

Mr Paget-Brown’s comments came before a meeting of the council cabinet at 18:30 BST that was initially to be held behind closed doors.

But following an application to the courts the authority admitted the public at the last minute.

Source :