London Fire Brigade boss Dany Cotton to stand down from role early

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

The head of London's Fire Brigade will stand down early, the service has said.

Commissioner Dany Cotton was due to retire in April next year, but will now step down at the end of this month.

In a statement released through the brigade, Ms Cotton said: "I feel honoured to have served London and I will do all I can to assist the safe transition of my responsibilities to the new London Fire Commissioner when they are appointed."

The 50-year-old started serving at Wimbledon fire station in 1988 and worked her way up to become the UK’s first female station officer after 12 years.

In 2017 she became LFB’s first female Commissioner, immediately encouraging more women to sign up in a bid to make the capital’s brigade more diverse.

Dany Cotton said she had been plagued with the trauma of dealing with Grenfell. Credit: PA

Her 32-year career was blighted with tragedy.

Shortly after joining LFB, she attended the Clapham Rail disaster in which 33 people died.

Some two decades later and just months after becoming the head of LFB, the Grenfell Tower fire happened under her watch, taking the lives of 72 people.

She faced wide ranging criticism of her leadership during the blaze, with a public inquiry finding firefighters could have been more proactive with advice to residents.

Ms Cotton was criticised by survivors after telling the probe she would change nothing about her team’s response on the night of the fire.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has thanked Ms Cotton for her service, adding work to appoint a new fire commissioner will begin shortly with a plan to implement the findings of the report into the Grenfell Tower fire.

'Change in leadership is needed to keep Londoners safe', Grenfell survivors say

The news has been welcomed by survivors of the Grenfell Tower blaze. Credit: PA

The news has been welcomed by Grenfell United, a group for bereaved families and survivors.

A statement from the organisation said: "This change in leadership is needed to keep Londoners safe. Sir Martin Moore-Bick raised serious concerns that the London Fire Brigade was an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of Grenfell.

"The phase one report has important recommendations for the LFB. The incoming commissioner must ensure that they move swiftly to ensure those recommendations are implemented.

"The LFB leadership must be determined in their efforts to ensure the lessons of Grenfell are learnt."