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Grenfell Tower: New council leader admits having never been inside one of her local high rise blocks

Elizabeth Campbell made the admission on BBC 4 Radio's Today programme four weeks after the disaster

Kensington and Chelsea's new leader has revealed she is yet to enter a high rise tower in her borough after 11 years working on the council.

Speaking today (Wednesday July 12) four weeks after the disaster, Elizabeth Campbell, the conservative leader who is heading the local response to the Grenfell Tower fire, she is yet to have entered one of the block of flats for which she is responsible.

Mrs Campbell's revelation comes after she was elected last week to replace Nicholas Paget-Brown, who stepped down from his post following the councils response to the Grenfell fire.

The Daily Mirror reports Ms Campbell, who has been on the council's cabinet on and off since 2010, was asked by BBC Radio 4's Today programme if she had ever been in Grenfell Tower before the blaze.

She admitted: "I haven't been inside the Grenfell Tower before the fire."

Asked if she had been in nearby Trellick Tower, she said: "Not Trellick, not Grenfell, but I have been inside many other council houses."

Asked if she had ever been into a council tower block in the borough, she said: "I haven't been into the high rise council blocks before, but I am certainly doing that now."

Confronted with the idea she was out of touch, she said: "I... I... can see that people might think that but most of my experience over the last 11 years in the council has been with family and children's services, with people on the ground."

A huge fire engulfs Grenfell Tower(Image: Getty Images Europe)

She added: "I totally reject the fact that just because I live in the south of the borough, I have no understanding of what's going on in the north of the borough."

Ms Campbell said she "accepts collective responsibility for having been on the cabinet" at the time flammable, cheaper cladding was allegedly chosen for the tower during a refurbishment project.

But she insisted: "My direct responsibility was family and children's services.

"And I feel I have the experience of dealing with some of the most disadvantaged families in the most tricky situations in North Kensington.

"I can bring that to the table."

If people were unhappy with the council, she said: "we have elections next May and they will be able to vote with their feet."

On Monday (July 10), police reaffirmed that they believed the death toll to be around 80 people.

Scotland Yard also revealed for the first time that 225 residents of the North Kensington tower block had managed to escape.

Met Police believe on the night of the fire there should have been 350 people in the tower block, but 14 were not at home.

Police have formally identified 32 victims and carried out 55 post-mortems.

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