We learned this morning just how far out-of-touch the Tory leadership of Kensington and Chelsea council are with the lives of working class residents of their borough.
Elizabeth Campbell, the new council leader who represents the area around Sloane Square, confessed that she’s never set foot in a high rise block of flats.
The councillor of 11 years made the telling admission during an interview with Mishal Hussain on the Today programme. Here’s the transcript:
Hussain:Had you ever been inside the Grenfell tower?
Campbell: I’m going tomorrow.
Hussain: But before the fire, had you ever been inside it?
Campbell: I haven’t been inside the Grenfell tower before the fire.
Hussain: Had you ever been inside the Trellick tower nearby?
Campbell: Not Trellick, not Grenfell but I have been inside many other council houses.
Hussain: The high rise ones, have you ever been inside any of them? Before the Grenfell fire, had you ever been up into any of those high rise council blocks?
Campbell: I haven’t been into the high rise council blocks before but I am certainly doing that now.
Campbell admitted that she could see why residents might think she doesn’t understand their lives, but insisted she had worked with “people on the ground” as the cabinet member responsible for children’s and family services.
Scrapbook reported on Campbell’s record in that post last week – a botched cost cutting exercise on transport for disabled children which almost ended in tragic circumstances.
Perhaps more worrying, she refused to apologise for the council’s failure to act on the repeated warnings about a fire risk from Grenfell residents and revealed she wasn’t even looking into how or why they were ignored.
Residents will though agree with one thing their new council leader said:
“If people on the ground feel they need a new council and new council leaders, we have elections next May and they will be able to vote with their feet.”