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Kensington Council chief claims Sajid Javid forced him out over Grenfell Tower blaze

2 min read

The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea Council has accused the Government of forcing him to quit over the Grenfell Tower fire.

Nicholas Holgate said Communities Secretary Sajid Javid ordered the council's Tory leader to demand his resignation, a claim the minister's department denies.

The local authority has faced intense criticism after residents claimed they offered little support following the tragic fire which has claimed the lives of at least 79 people.

Mr Holgate said his remaining in post while a public inquiry was ongoing would be a “distraction” although he said the council's staff would be found to have consistently served in the interests of local residents.

In a statement he said that Mr Javid “required the leader of the council to seek my resignation”.

"Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” he said.

"There is a huge amount still to do for the victims of the fire, requiring the full attention of this council and many others. If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction."

He added: "Whilst the public inquiry and other investigations will get to the truth of the causes of this tragedy and the management of its aftermath, I strongly believe that councillors and officers have always endeavoured to have the interests of our residents at heart and will continue to do so."

A spokesperson at the Department for Communities and Local Government said however: “The appointment of Chief Executives is entirely the responsibility of the local authority.”

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