Grenfell Tower fire: Downing Street criticises council over aborted meeting


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Media caption Council tries to ban press and public from meeting

Downing Street has rebuked Kensington and Chelsea Council over its decision to adjourn its first cabinet meeting since the Grenfell Tower fire.

The cabinet had tried to hold Thursday’s meeting behind closed doors but was forced by a court order to hold it in public.

However it ended after just 20 minutes.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “The High Court ruled that the meeting should be open and we would have expected the council to respect that.”

Council leaders claimed an open meeting would “prejudice” the forthcoming public inquiry.

Leaders ‘hiding’

Angry protests followed after the abandoned meeting, which Labour councillor Robert Atkinson, whose ward includes Grenfell Tower, branded a “fiasco”.

He shouted: “An absolute fiasco, this is why I am calling for your resignation.”

Mr Atkinson, the Labour group leader on Kensington and Chelsea Council, told the BBC he was “ashamed” of the council

He accused council leaders of “hiding from residents, they have been hiding from backbench councillors for over a week”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has demanded the resignation of the entire council leadership.

The Labour mayor said the council’s decision to scrap the meeting “beggars belief”.

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Nicholas Paget-Brown has publicly apologised to survivors

Before the meeting Mr Paget-Brown apologised for the authority’s response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which at least 80 people died.

The Conservative councillor told BBC London he would not resign in the foreseeable future.

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

In a statement released after the cabinet meeting was adjourned, Mr Paget-Brown 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.”



Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40455363

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