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Sadiq Khan rejects call to move Notting Hill Carnival

London mayor insists the annual festival must not change venue.

Sadiq Khan has rejected a request from the Government to move the Notting Hill Carnival from its current venue in the wake of the nearby Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Following a meeting with the London Mayor, Minister for London Greg Hands, who represents the nearby Chelsea and Fulham constituency, tweeted a letter which read: “The Carnival is an important and symbolic community celebration in our capital’s calendar, and one greatly valued and enjoyed by both Londoners and visitors alike. Clearly it must go ahead.

“However, we have to ask ourselves if it is appropriate to stage a Carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster. I would like you to consider moving the location, and/or the (Greater London Authority), with its experience of running major events, taking over the Carnival, in conjunction with the current organisers.”

Mr Khan, however, said he would not find a new venue for the annual event, which is due to take place at the end of August.

“Notting Hill Carnival is a firm London tradition and incredibly important to the local community. It should not be moved,” he tweeted.

The call to move the event prompted an angry response from some quarters, including from London rapper Stormzy, who called Mr Hands a “scumbag” for making the suggestion.

He tweeted: “Look at this scumbag tryna using the Grenfell tragedy for their ‘get rid of carnival’ agenda. We ain’t buying it mate.”

ITV News presenter Charlene White tweeted: “A community that once a year gets to celebrate their varied and wonderful cultures. And you want that MOVED? And you wonder why trust is low.”

A spokeswoman for the London Mayor said in a statement: “The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s biggest street festivals and has become a firm London tradition over many decades.

“It was born out of the African-Caribbean immigrant community in North Kensington and Notting Hill in the 1950s, and it’s only right that this remains its home. Any attempt to impose a move to another location on the carnival, particularly at a time when the community has little trust in those in positions of authority, would be a mistake.

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Sadiq Khan has rejected a request from the Government to move the carnival from its current venue in the wake of the nearby Grenfell Tower tragedy (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“Since Sadiq became Mayor, City Hall has provided enormous support to the organisers of the carnival, working closely with the Metropolitan Police, residents, local councils and experts to ensure everything is done to make this year’s – and future years’ carnivals successful and safe.

“The Metropolitan Police will continue to review the policing plans for the carnival to ensure there is an appropriate policing presence to ensure the safety of carnival.”

The spokeswoman added “it is only right” that this year’s carnival “marks the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower”, adding that Mr Khan would “work closely with the organisers and the wider community to ensure they are consulted and involved in the planning for an appropriate commemoration”.

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