New Kensington & Chelsea leader Elizabeth Campbell admits "we failed" as Grenfell Tower fallout continues

Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Views Of The Remains Of The Grenfell Tower Block
The blaze, which occured on 14 June, has claimed at least 80 lives (Source: Getty)

The new leader of Kensington & Chelsea council, Elizabeth Campbell, has admitted "we have failed it when people needed us the most".

Campbell, who was selected to replace Nicholas Paget-Brown at the helm of the council last night by the Conservatives, began her tenure by offering a heartfelt apology to those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

"The first thing I want to do is I want to apologise," she said. "This is our community and we have failed it when people needed us the most.

"So, no buts, no ifs, no excuses - I am truly sorry."

Campbell will appoint a new cabinet today (4 July) "and things are going to change". She said she would also contact communities minister Sajid Javid to "ask for more help".

"I don't know at this stage what that help will be like, what the plan will be, but I know that the thing we need is a plan for the community in North Kensington and that is what I'm going to do."

But "the first thing I'm going to do is to reach out to our community so we can begin to heal the wounds," Campbell said.

Campbell was elected a councillor in 2001 and has represented Royal Hospital since 2006. She was most recently the cabinet member responsible for all family and children's services, as well as vice-chairman of Chelsea Academy's governing body and vice-chairman of the Academy Trust.

Paget-Brown resigned on Friday and wil remain formally in the post until Campbell can be officially elected at the next council meeting on 19 July.

Work is still ongoing to determine the number of casualties from Grenfell Tower. At least 80 people died in the blaze on 14 June, however that figure is expected to rise amid concerns a significant number of people were illegally subletting flats.

Yesterday Javid urged tenants to come forward with details of any sublets, saying: "There may have been people living in flats that were illegally sublet who have no idea about the true status of their tenancy.

"Their families want to know if they perished in the fire. These are their sons, their daughters, their brothers, their sisters. They need closure and it's the least that they deserve."

He also revealed that 181 samples of cladding tested so far had failed fire safety tests.

Related articles