Grenfell Tower: 'Emma Dent Coad controversy is diversion from real issues'

Grenfell Tower: 'Emma Dent Coad controversy is diversion from real issues'

The final death toll of the fire has been announced

Friday, November 17, 2017

Kensington and Chelsea Labour Councillor Robert Atkinson has said controversy surrounding MP Emma Dent Coad for comments she made in 2010 is just a diversion from real issues about Grenfell Tower. 

Police have now said all bodies from the Grenfell Tower fire have been recovered and indentified and the final death toll is 71. Ealier this week Dent Coad, the local Labour MP, made headlines after it emerged she had called Conservative London Assembly member Shaun Bailey a “token ghetto boy” in a 2010 blog post.

Dent Coad was forced to apologise for the slur, but added "people have taken it the wrong way.” No action has been taken by the Labour Party over this. 

Atkinson, Labour Group leader on Kensington and Chelsea Council, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “Yes I do [think she should be an MP] and I also think that Shaun Bailey did himself describe himself repeatedly as a ghetto boy.”

He believes: “This must not be allowed to detract from the situation that’s happening in Kensington at present and I do think it is a diversion. It’s important that we are careful as to what we say but this was all a very long time ago.

“I am delighted to have a Labour MP for Kensington. We need a Labour MP in Kensington at the moment because of the situation.”

On the aftermath of Grenfell, Atkinson said “the Government continues to issue deadlines and then is not responsible for the way things are handled.

“I’m not going to have the victims of Grenfell Tower pressurised into taking decisions before they're ready to because the Prime Minister wants to have everybody out of temporary accommodation by Christmas.”

He agreed it was right for Theresa May to promise that survivors would be rehoused in the area, with the same rights and rental terms as power. However, Atkinson added, people have to accept “that has made things more complicated and has taken longer.”

Listen to the full interview above