Traumatised Grenfell Tower families want Tory council axed to ensure scrutiny

Traumatised families from the Grenfell Tower disaster want the Government to bring in an independent team to run their neighbourhood.

They fear that if the ruling Tories are allowed to keep control of the council it could avoid proper scrutiny over the inferno that killed 72 residents.

Justice4Grenfell campaigners unfurled a giant St George’s flag outside Wembley stadium ahead of today’s England game and questioned the lack of arrests. Others demanded action from Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

This week Mr Jenrick took the rare step of ­installing independent commissioners to oversee Liverpool City Council amid corruption allegations.

Now relatives of those who died at Grenfell want the same move at West London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of the tragedy on Monday, the group Grenfell Next of Kin said failure to install independent bosses may ­compromise potential criminal proceedings against the council.

Masood Shahabedin, 60, whose ­cousin Hamid Kani, 61, died in the fire that was fuelled by faulty cladding, said: “It is unbelievable that this council has been left in charge of our recovery.

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The horrific Grenfell Tower inferno in 2017
The horrific Grenfell Tower inferno in 2017

Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick
Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick

“Why didn’t the Government think this through? There is no confidence or trust in this council.

“The pain of it all hasn’t gotten any easier. We still have no closure.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged then-PM Theresa May to appoint ­commissioners to run the council in 2017 after its leader Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned over the disaster.

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A “value for money” audit, which looks at local governments’ spending and resulted in Liverpool’s takeover, has not been completed at Kensington and Chelsea since the fire.

Financial documents on the council’s website state that matters auditors needed to consider were potentially included in the inquiries and investigations relating to the disaster.

Grenfell Next of Kin, which represents relatives of 31 killed, fear it could be decades before the council is fully audited.

The group said: “The fact RBKC is still ­allowed to operate in this way is re-traumatising for survivors and people who lost loved ones.”

Grenfell Next of Kin also wants the public ­inquiry to look at issues of race and class and says it would be a tragedy if the disaster is remembered as only a cladding issue.

Masood, a linguist who arrived in Britain with his cousin from Iran in 1979 and lives in Preston, Lancs, added: “It wasn’t just one mistake. There is a chain of events and complaints that were ­completely ignored.”

The RBKC said: “The council is ­doing all it can to assist the public ­inquiry. We believe our duty is to the truth – whatever it takes and whatever the consequences for the council.”

Singers Rita Ora and Paloma Faith are among celebrities backing Justice4Grenfell.



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