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Grenfell Tower fire: 'Nothing is off the table' if council fails to care for victims says minister

Commissioners could yet be appointed to take over the running of Kensington and Chelsea council in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, the Communities Secretary has indicated.

Sajid Javid told ITV News that he was keeping all options open but was ready to act if the local authority failed to provide properly for those caught up in the disaster.

Nothing is off the table in making sure that local residents get the support they need.

Clearly there is a role for local council, for the Government and many others.

But where anyone is not stepping up and doing what is expected of them, then nothing should be off the table.

– Sajid Javid

He also said it was right for council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown to resign to allow an opportunity for "fresh leadership" at the much-criticised council.

"Now it's an opportunity to take hold of that and see if that fresh leadership can be provided," he added.

It comes after Mr Javid said the Government would limit itself to keeping a "close eye" on the situation for now.

It follows calls from Labour for commissioners to step in to take over the running of the borough.

Mr Javid said: "It is right the council leader stepped down given the initial response to the Grenfell tragedy.

"The process to select his successor will be independent of government, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. If we need to take further action, we won't hesitate to do so."

The council's leader resigned after accepting he had become a 'political story'. Credit: PA

Mr Paget-Brown's decision to step down over what he described as "perceived failings" takes the number of high-profile resignations in the council over the disaster to three.

His deputy Rock Feilding-Mellen and council chief executive Nicholas Holgate also exited their roles over the much-criticised response.

Mr Paget-Brown's departure hours also came on the same day it was announced the head of the organisation that manages Grenfell Tower is standing down.

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan led calls for commissioners to be drafted in to take over the day-to-day running of the council.

He said the local community had "lost trust" in the council and there was "no option" but to appoint "untainted" commissioners who had "a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face".

Sadiq Khan has called for Credit: PA

Commissioners were brought in to run Tower Hamlets Council in 2014 after a critical independent report into the council's award of grants and sale of properties under former mayor Lutfur Rahman.

Yvette Williams, one of the organisers of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group, said the community would not accept commissioners imposed on them without consultation.

Kensington and Chelsea council has faced deep criticism over the response for families who were left homeless and stripped of all their possession in the blaze.

On Friday, the former council leader had been rebuked by Downing Street for abandoning a Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council meeting to discuss the deadly blaze on Thursday evening.

Opposition councillor Robert Atkinson had called on Nicholas Paget-Brown to resign

The Labour Party has launched a drive for the council to relinquish its handling of affairs until the crisis was brought under control, with a string of party figures weighing in.

Today, John McDonell said that deep cuts to public services under the Conservatives' austerity drive was a key factor in the disaster.

"Grenfell Tower symbolised for many everything that's gone wrong in this country since austerity was imposed upon us."

He slammed the Tories for praising the emergency services "every time there's a tragedy" but then cutting jobs and wages.

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