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Grenfell Tower relief effort has been effective, insists council leader

Nick Paget-Brown has defended the response to the fire.

The leader of the council facing intense criticism over its handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster has insisted there is an “effective” relief effort on the ground.

Nick Paget-Brown, the Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, said there were officials on the ground “very soon” after the fire broke out to help residents, but he sidestepped questions over whether he feels guilty about what happened.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the support given to survivors and the families of those who died was “not good enough” and there were “huge frustrations” on the ground as people struggled to find information.

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Protesters outside Kensington town hall in west London ( Yui Mok/PA)

Asked if he would resign, Mr Paget-Brown insisted: “That’s not a matter for now.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “I feel like everybody else traumatised by the enormity of the tragedy that overtook North Kensington in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“I’ve heard the criticisms of the council this morning, the leader of the opposition and from others, I’ve read what the media have been saying about it.

“All I can say is to my certain knowledge the council, councillors, volunteers, community groups, officers of the council, have been present in North Kensington since very soon after they were notified that the fire had started.”

Asked if he feels guilty, he replied: “I feel terrible about the whole position we find ourselves in.

“All I’m keen to say is there is an effective, co-ordinated relief effort on the ground and I’m sorry if people haven’t seen that.”

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