On Sunday Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory head of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, spoke to BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme to attempt to justify his and his council’s performance in the aftermath of the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy.
It was an object lesson in framing answers to avoid responsibility. Answers that flew in the face of the allegations of victims and their neighbours – and appropriated the efforts of volunteers in the days following the fire in order to dodge criticisms and paint a flattering picture of the council’s actions.
- claimed the volunteer centres spontaneously set up by local people were part of a ‘co-ordinated effort’ involving the council
- claimed that council employees and officers were on site ‘very soon’ after the fire started – when residents and neighbours of the Tower are adamant that no one from the council was there until early evening
- claimed the local Westway sports centre quickly became the single point for survivors and relatives, even though locals say it was late on Wednesday and into Thursday – and that council workers appropriated all the supplies the volunteer centres had collected to stock the centre
- claimed that council and government assistance had been established in the area, even though locals were still insisting on Sunday – the day of the interview – that the only effective assistance was being provided by volunteers
- denied that Ealing council had stepped in to relieve the council of its responsibilities even though it’s on record that it did
- and, perhaps most damningly, admitted that he did not speak to the government about the disaster until two full days after it took place
Watch and listen – and then decide for yourself whether Mr Paget-Brown’s claims match the evidence of the people affected.
And whether he should resign immediately to clear the way for someone more fit to help the victims and neighbours of Grenfell Tower:
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