Journalists barred from first Kensington Council meeting since Grenfell

David Sharman, Hold The Front Pa

Journalists have been barred from tonight’s meeting of Kensington Council’s cabinet – the first to be held since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea says tonight’s meeting will be held entirely in private session, putting the decision down to the “risk of disruption.”

The council has cited an incident on Friday 16 June, two days after the fatal fire, which saw survivors and other residents attempt to enter Kensington Town Hall before returning to a demonstration outside, as an example of the supposed risk.

At least 80 people are now known to have died in the blaze, although a final figure may not be produced until 2018.

A notice of meeting on the council’s website reads: “Please note this meeting will be held entirely in private session, pursuant to Standing Order 31.01*, in the light of the risk of disruption (as witnessed on Friday 16 June) and consequently security and public safety concerns.

“As such it will be open only to cabinet members, support officers and invited guests (if any).

“The public minutes of this meeting will be published, in due course, on the council website.”

The Standing Order referred to states that under common law and statute, the chairman of the meeting, who in this case is council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown, has the power to exclude the public if he or she is of the opinion that there shall be a disruption to the business.

The fire is listed as the only item of business other than apologies for absence and declarations of interest.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the Oldham Evening Chronicle was the first newspaper in England to carry photos of the tower on its front page, while local news website Get West London raised £20,000 for survivors in 24 hours.

On Tuesday, Newcastle daily The Chronicle launches its ‘What Price Life’ campaign to demand the government and housing providers act to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring on its patch.

The council declined to comment further when contacted by HTFP.

HTFP has approached local newspaper titles in West London for their comments.
uploaded: Thu, Jun 29 2017
modified: Tue, Dec 30 1969