Council staff from Kensington and Chelsea apparently described Grenfell Tower as being like “little Africa”, according to an MP.
During a Commons debate on the deadly fire, which will have happened two years ago on 14 June, Labour MP Emma Dent Coad shocked members when she said the attitude of Kensington and Chelsea Council was either “racism or snobbery, take your pick”.
Speaking about the staff at the Tory-led local council, Deny Coad told MPs:
A senior council officer was told to go down to the sit but refused. He said ‘its like little Africa down there’.
Another said ‘the area was full of people from the Tropics’.
A senior officer regularly in front of others referred to my neighbours as ‘mussies’.
But the MP didn’t stop here, as she claimed this behaviour was ‘hardly surprising’, adding:
This attitude is hardly surprising. A senior councillor about two years ago during a debate on refugee children said during his speech 'if we let these people in, we will have an Islamic caliphate in Kensington and Chelsea'.
In response, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Elizabeth Campbell said she would look into these claims immediately, adding:
If these claims can be substantiated we will, of course, investigate them urgently, but I hope Emma would have reported them at the time as both a local councillor and MP.
I will be writing to her directly to find out the details of the cases she outlined in the House of Commons.
We have been working hard to make the properties we bought for the bereaved, survivors and their families into places they can call home, working with them to do so in incredibly complex circumstances.
Council staff have never stopped caring and never stopped working, and this will continue to be the case when every family is in their new home and starting to rebuild their lives, and we are working with our colleagues in the NHS who will be crucial for this long-term effort.
The first report of the Grenfell fire inquiry, which has been ongoing, will be released in October.