My usual response to trolling on social media
is ‘one factual rebuttal and walk away’. However, the false accusations linking
me to the decision on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower has returned once again. A good friend of mine was once physically
attacked for defending me on this.
So here are some checkable facts which I hope
will end this libel.
I joined the Board of the TMO in June 2008
and left in October 2012. Here is a link to the Board of Directors, also
showing which Councillors were on it and when. Council Leader Cllr Elizabeth
Campbell was on the Board at the same time as me:
During my tenure there had been numerous
complaints from residents about the condition of Grenfell Tower: broken lifts,
draughty windows, poor insulation, and the heating and hot water system
regularly breaking down.
In October 2012 (around the time I left the
TMO) the then Cabinet Member Cllr Tim Coleridge announced that a major
refurbishment would be undertaken. Residents were pleased. At the time the
proposed contractor was Leadbitter. The scope of the work was agreed at the
time, but the detail was to come. Link to press release:
In April 2014 it was announced by the Council
and TMO that due to costs the contract had been awarded to Rydon rather than
Leadbitter who had scoped the work. Note that this was AFTER the planning
application was granted approval:
Throughout the summer amendments were made
and detailed specifications decided. Cladding materials proposed at 1 July 2014:
There were several amendments during this
period. Often the details of these are done by ‘delegated decision’, which
means the final details and choice of materials is decided by officers and not
the Planning Committee.
Then on 30 September 2014 ‘Condition 3’ was
agreed by delegated decision; this related to the final choice of cladding:
Who made those decisions, advised by whom,
and why, should be thoroughly scrutinised by the agencies tasked with the job
of investigating these matters and allocating accountability, responsibility,
blame and – we hope ultimately – guilt.
To be clear, I was on the Board when the
principle of refurbishing Grenfell Tower was discussed, but I was nowhere near
the decision-making process for the detailed specifications for refurbishing Grenfell
which started when I left. Board members agreed the contract but do not specify
cladding or indeed any other technical details. Neither should they.
on 16 June a report in the Standard said: ‘She (EDC) was on the board of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management
Organisation when the tower’s refurbishment was discussed. Kensington’s ex-Tory
MP, Victoria Borwick, said Ms Dent Coad shared “collective responsibility” for
In the following weeks I received
countless death threats.
As you can see clearly from the dates when
decisions were made above, the accusation is incorrect. I have asked Victoria
Borwick three times to accept that her accusation was mistaken. She has
Now Liberal Democrat prospective
parliamentary candidate Sam Gyimah has repeated this very dangerous fiction. He
has been asked to apologise for his mistake. At the time of writing he has not
Our candidate, Emma Dent Coad, will be taking part in the Kensington Climate and Environment Hustings on 28 November at 7.30pm in Al Manaar Mosque. Space is limited so please book you ticket without delay if you would like to attend! You can book tickets by clicking here.
Statement from Councillor Pat Mason, Leader of the RBKC Labour Opposition Group,
about the comments made by Sam Gyimah to the Independent on 11th November 2019
Commenting in an Independent newspaper report on 11th November 2019 about who may be responsible for the Grenfell Tower Fire, Sam Gyimah is quoted saying, “The Council is responsible and there are Labour councillors on there that could have stopped some of the decisions and didn’t”.
Commenting on who may have been responsible for the decisions made about the cladding, he is reported saying, “Emma Dent Coad(who was a member of the RBKC Labour Group before the Grenfell Tower Fire and still is a member) was on the Council and was part of all the discussions that went on in terms of the cladding”.
Unless Mr Gyimah can provide the evidence to support his allegation that RBKC Labour councillors had some responsibility for decisions that led to the Fire, we will expect an apology and a retraction of these allegations in writing. If he does not either provide the evidence or retract and apologise, we will instruct John Cooper QC, who represents the RBKC Labour Opposition Group in all matters regarding the Grenfell Tower Fire Public Inquiry, to advise on what legal action should be taken.
As a former Conservative government minister whom we would have expected to be familiar with the rules and procedures of public inquiries, Mr Gyimah should have recognised that it is the duty of Sir Martin Moore-Bick and the second phase of the Grenfell Tower Fire Public Inquiry that begins in 2020, to decide who is responsible for this atrocity, and that it is improper and irresponsible for him to have prejudged what the Inquiry may decide.
When, in January 2018, Sir Martin Moore-Bick refused the Labour Group’s application for Core Participant status at the Inquiry for a second time, he said, “At the moment I have seen nothing to suggest that any of your clients (Labour councillors)is likely to be subject to personal criticism……I do not think it likely that the Labour Group on the Council, or any of its members, is likely to be criticised for not having opposed more vigorously the polices and decisions of the majority party”.