London mayor calls for Grenfell council to be taken over as leaders resign

Sadiq Khan says a "fundamental breakdown in trust has taken place"

London mayor calls for Grenfell council to be taken over as leaders resign

Picture by: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council to be 'taken over' following the Grenfell Tower fire.

In a letter to Theresa May, Mr Khan said: "Following yesterday evening's shambolic council cabinet meeting, it is self-evident that the leadership of the council has lost the trust of local residents.

"Therefore, I believe the government has no option but to immediately appoint commissioners to take over the running of (the) council."

My Khan added: "It is also clear that a change in leadership from amongst the existing councillors will not address this situation - in fact it may aggravate it further, as it fails to address the fundamental breakdown in trust that has taken place."

Mr Khan's suggestion came not long after council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said he would be stepping down following criticism of the authority's response to the disaster.

In a statement, Mr Paget-Brown said: "The Grenfell Tower fire has been possibly the worst tragedy London has seen since the end of the Second World War.

"Nobody will ever forget what they saw that day and the horror that ensued for people trapped inside."

Mr Paget-Brown added: "This council has been criticised for failing to answer all the questions that people have. That is properly a matter for the public inquiry.

"As council leader I have to accept my share of responsibility for these perceived failings.

"In particular, my decision to accept legal advice that I should not compromise the public inquiry by having an open discussion in public yesterday has itself become a political story, and it cannot be right that this should have become the focus of attention when so many are dead or unaccounted for.

"I have therefore decided to step down as leader of the council as soon as a successor is in place."

Public inquiry

Deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen is also stepping down, saying he would "of course co-operate in full with the public inquiry".

Earlier, the chief executive of the group that manages Grenfell Tower resigned.

Robert Black, chief executive of Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, agreed to step aside to "concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry", a statement by the group said.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May demanding a broader public inquiry into the tragedy.

The British Labour leader says he was "concerned to hear Sir Martin Moore-Bick indicate that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry will be narrow".

Mr Corbyn quotes the man leading the inquiry as saying it would be "pretty well limited to the problems surrounding the start of the fire and its rapid development".

The Labour leader adds: "Reaching a full understanding of how and why this fire started and spread is obviously of the utmost importance.

"However, it is clear to me from talking to Grenfell residents that their concerns and questions stretch beyond these narrow terms.

"I would be grateful for clarification as to who so instructed Sir Martin Moore-Bick and how his comments are compatible with the Queen's Speech commitment that residents and families of the deceased be consulted on the terms of reference for the inquiry."