“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. Many questions about the cause of the fire and why it spread so quickly will need to be answered by the public enquiry. There are clearly national issues to address around regulation.
“The scale of this tragedy was always going to mean that one borough alone would never have sufficient resources to respond to all the needs of the survivors – and those made homeless – on its own. We have been very lucky to have the support of other London boroughs, the emergency services and the community associations based in North Kensington and I am very grateful to all of them. This Council has also been criticised for failing to answer all the questions that people have. That is properly a matter for the public enquiry.
“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 enquiry 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 still unaccounted for.
“I have therefore decided to step down as Leader of the Council as soon as a successor is in place. They will appoint a new Deputy Leader and Cabinet.
“As I said yesterday, this is a huge human tragedy for so many families. The task for my successor is to ensure that the strengths which also characterise this place, and North Kensington in particular, are seen to play their part in bringing the community together and ensuring that this borough, the most wonderful place, can start to move forward from this tragedy.”
Leader of the Council Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen – resignation statement Friday 30 June 2017
“This is my first written statement since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and I would like to start by expressing the deep sorrow, grief, and shock that I share with everyone else who lives in North Kensington. It was the most horrific and traumatic tragedy, which will affect all those who lived through it or witnessed it for many years to come. It is almost unbelievable that such a horrendous event could happen in the United Kingdom in the twenty-first century. Like all my neighbours, I feel heartbroken and my most deeply felt condolences go out to those who have lost their loved ones.
“I have served as a Councillor since 2006 and was appointed Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration in 2013. I have always tried my utmost to meet my responsibilities with integrity, hard work, and a commitment to serving the interests of all residents of the borough. It has been suggested several times since the tragic event of the 14 June that I should resign, but until now I have felt that it was my duty to do whatever I could personally to back the Council’s efforts to help the fire’s victims, to encourage all of the dedicated officers within the Council as they worked tirelessly for the relief effort, and to support the Council’s Leader. It will be for others to judge whether it would have been better for me to resign immediately, but I would have found it hard to forgive myself if I had ducked out at such a moment of crisis for the borough.
“Nick has now announced his decision to resign as Leader, and so I will no longer be Deputy Leader. I will continue to serve the residents of the Borough as best I can as a Councillor, and I will of course co-operate in full with the public inquiry.”
Deputy Leader, Royal Borough