UK rejects request to replace local authority after fire

2017-07-01 22:27
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - British Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Saturday rejected demands that she appoint commissioners to run the local government blamed for mishandling the response to the London high-rise apartment building fire that killed at least 80 people.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan had asked May to take the unusual step because he said the elected council for the borough of Kensington and Chelsea has "lost the trust of local residents".

Directly involved

The council owns Grenfell Tower, which was a 120-unit public housing complex before it was destroyed in the June 14 fire and provides services to the surrounding community.

But British Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said that while he supported the decision by the Kensington and Chelsea Council's leader to resign on Friday, now was not the time for the central government to get directly involved.

"It is right the council leader stepped down given the initial response to the Grenfell tragedy," Javid said in a statement. "The process to select his successor will be independent of government, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. If we need to take further action, we won't hesitate to do so".

Khan's demand came amid intensifying anger about the rapidly spread fire and frustration over the council's efforts to help Grenfell Tower residents left homeless.

Fire survivors and residents of the surrounding neighbourhood have protested their treatment, accusing local officials of ineptitude and lack of concern for their plight.

Most deprived

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown resigned on Friday, saying he accepted responsibility for the "perceived failings" of the council and that its members would elect new leadership at its next meeting.

But Khan argued that all members of the council were tainted by the body's response to the disaster.

"It is crucial that the commissioners are people of high standing and probity; have a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face and be untainted so that all residents of Kensington and Chelsea can have confidence in them," Khan said.

The frustration in north Kensington underscores the political and socio-economic divisions in the larger borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Grenfell Tower is located in one of England's most deprived neighbourhoods, according to a government ranking that combines factors such as income, employment, education and access to housing.

Yet it sits alongside the wealthy enclaves of Notting Hill and Holland Park, areas that attract wealthy expatriates, investment bankers and corporate managers.

Public money

The Kensington and Chelsea Council is made up of 37 members of the Conservative Party, 12 from the Labour Party and one from the Liberal Democrats. The council leader would normally represent the largest party.

Appointing commissioners to oversee a local government would be unusual, but not unprecedented move for the British government. Commissioners were brought in to run the London borough of Tower Hamlets in 2014 amid concerns about how the council handled public money.

A year later, commissioners replaced the Rotherham Council in central England when its leaders resigned after a report found they failed to confront widespread sexual abuse because of concerns about political correctness.


Read more on:    grenfell tower  |  theresa may  |  sadiq khan  |  uk  |  fires

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?

 
 

Paws

How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.