Tories hold Kensington and Chelsea despite Grenfell anger

By Tom Macleod
The Conservatives have retained control of Kensington and Chelsea despite huge criticism surrounding their handling of the Grenfell Tower fire in June last year.
The run-up to the elections in the borough was dominated by the tragedy in which 71 people died.Anger and frustration with the Conservative-run council has not gone away.
Tories hold Kensington and Chelsea despite Grenfell anger

Count volunteers sort ballot papers at Kensington Town Hall
On approaching the town hall once the polls closed, the Justice4Grenfell group had projected their slogan on to the side of the building.A smaller protest than scenes witnessed in the aftermath of the fire last year, but a sign of the continued displeasure with those in power here.:: Local elections - the results as they happenThe heightened tension was even reflected during the count itself.Security required the press to be on a different floor of the building and unable to interact with councillors and MPs downstairs.
#Conservatives retain control of #Kensington and Chelsea. #LocalElections2018— Tom Macleod (@SkyNewsTom) May 4, 2018
In the run up to the vote, Labour made much of their possible gains in the capital.In Kensington and Chelsea though, Conservative voters remained loyal.
Even with the fierce criticism of the council both before and after the Grenfell Tower fire, it was always going to be a big task for Labour to gain 15 extra seats in historically blue wards which required overturning large majorities.While Labour's group leader on the council conceded defeat before the results officially trickled in, the party did make some gains.
Tories hold Kensington and Chelsea despite Grenfell anger

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Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington said early on: "It's not about winning, it's about change".But taken alongside disappointments for Labour in Wandsworth and Westminster, the change looks less dramatic than the party wanted.This council has big challenges ahead.Conservative council leader Elizabeth Campbell says Grenfell has changed things, pointing out the fact that a large number of Tory councillors have stood down, replaced by members from a more diverse background.Following the result, Ms Campbell said: "We still need to rebuild trust and earn trust. Earn it day by day, by our actions, not just our words.
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"We will listen to all voices in this borough. We will be open to new ways of working and thinking because we know we don't have all the answers."However, with some survivors of the fire yet to be re-housed permanently - nearly one year on - this result may not fill some residents with hopes of a new broom sweeping through the corridors of Kensington and Chelsea town hall.
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