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Grenfell Tower Fire: Prospective new council leader has 'bit more human understanding' than predecessors

Labour group leader Robert Atkinson said Elizabeth Campbell wasn't 'one of the un-empathetic males that have made such a mess', but issued a warning

The appointment of the new de facto Kensington and Chelsea Council leader is an improvement on the “unempathetic males” she is taking over from, according to the leader of the opposition group.

But Cllr Robert Atkinson, the Labour group leader in the Royal borough, warned after Elizabeth Campbell faced the “tall order” of winning over the confidence and trust of people in North Kensington.

He was speaking after Mrs Campbell, a former cabinet member and Royal Hospital ward member, was elected leader of the Conservative group in Kensington and Chelsea, following the resignation of Nick Paget-Brown.

Cllr Elizabeth Campbell(Image: Publicity Picture)

She is expected to be formally named council leader at a full council meeting on July 19.

Reacting to her appointment, Cllr Atkinson said the government will need to send in specially appointed commissioners if Mrs Campbell is unable to get a grip on the turmoil which has engulfed the administration since the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 .

He said: “I will give her a couple of days.

Kensington and Chelsea Labour group leader Robert Atkinson(Image: PA)

“I have questions for her, particularly around what her housing policy is going to be.

“We will see if she’s able to engage and try and win the confidence of the people of North Kensington - that’s going to be a tall order.

“If she can’t do it, I’m sure the Government will move in commissioners.

“I think that the situation is bad enough, she’s got to get a grip and she’s got to get a grip quickly.”

Mr Atkinson said Mrs Campbell had recently taken a leave of absence and had returned to take what he called “the poison chalice”.

He said she had no expertise in housing or regeneration and represented the “most privileged” ward in the Royal Borough.

But he added: “She’s not one of the unempathetic males that have made such a mess of it, she does have a bit more human understanding.”

A Justice 4 Grenfell co-ordinator has already hit out at the appointment of Cllr Campbell .

She is expected to be named leader of the council on July 19 .

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