New council leader booed at meeting on Grenfell Tower disaster
Elizabeth Campbell was formally elected new leader of Kensington and Chelsea council.
The new leader of the council at the centre of the Grenfell Tower fire was heckled and booed as she addressed survivors and local residents at a public meeting.
Boos and shouts of “shame on you” rang out from the chamber as Elizabeth Campbell was formally elected new leader of Kensington and Chelsea council after being nominated by the local Conservative group.
She was heckled as she addressed the chamber in Kensington Town Hall and at times could not be heard amid the yells of “resign”, prompting calls for order.
A public gallery packed with former Grenfell Tower residents and an over-spill room containing at least 150 community members and volunteers were present in addition to the full council.
Six extra chairs were placed on the chamber floor underneath the public gallery at the request of survivors, some of whom indicated they may wish to speak during the meeting.
At least one person was let in midway through the meeting after furious banging on the locked door separating the public gallery from the chamber floor was heard.
Outside, a group of demonstrators holding Justice for Grenfell placards were gathered.
Addressing survivors in the chamber, Cllr Campbell said: “I am deeply sorry for the grief and trauma that you are suffering.
“I am truly sorry that we did not do more to help you when you needed it the most.”
A woman who said her teenager niece had perished in the blaze addressed the chamber.
She said her brother and sister-in-law could not speak in public because “their pain is too huge”.
Cllr Elizabeth Campbell speaks after being elected as Leader https://t.co/KzCKofRsSs— RBKC (@RBKC) July 19, 2017
She told councillors: “I think you should be highly embarrassed by the response,” adding that it had been “totally inadequate”.
She told the council a “simple acknowledgement of an email would have gone a long way”, referring to a previous attempt to get in contact.
The family of the deceased “are being treated like cattle”, another woman said as she took the microphone.
“How can we have faith in you, come to you guys for help?”, she asked the floor.
“You know, I can’t really talk,” she said, unable to continue, and was applauded as she finished speaking.
Shortly after a survivor told the room he had been living in a hotel room with one double bed for him, his wife and three children since the tragedy.
“I was forgotten about,” he explained.
The main problem residents were facing was a lack of action, he said.
“You know who done something for us?”, he asked. “The residents of north Kensington. Our community. Our neighbours.”
For the main part of two hours, accounts from survivors and local community members were heard, with the meeting’s agenda seemingly put on hold.
At points, muffled crying and shouting could be heard from outside the chamber.