Local government secretary said to have “required” Nicholas Holgate to go
Nicholas Holgate, the chief executive of Kensington & Chelsea council, has resigned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, effectively saying he was pushed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.
In a statement Holgate said Javid had “required the leader of the council to seek my resignation”.
Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said he regretted Holgate’s departure, adding the local authority would now have to find a “new way with different partners” to provide affected residents and survivors of the fire with the support they needed.
Holgate said that serving the families affected by the “heart-breaking tragedy” at Grenfell Tower remained the highest priority of the council.
“Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” he said.
Kensington and Chelsea council has come in for intense criticism over the way it handled the aftermath of the fire, its dealings with survivors, and for the way it dealt with concerns about the building before last week’s blaze, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 79 people.
In his statement, Holgate said: “Success in our efforts requires leadership across London that sustains the confidence and support of central government. There is a huge amount still to do for the victims of the fire, requiring the full attention of this Council and many others. If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction.
“Whilst the public inquiry and other investigations will get to the truth of the causes of this tragedy and the management of its aftermath, I strongly believe that Councillors and officers have always endeavoured to have the interests of our residents at heart and will continue to do so.
Paget-Brown said he had accepted Holgate’s resignation with “great regret”.
Paget-Brown said: “Like everyone else, the council has been grief stricken by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and has sought to provide the greatest level of support we can to victims.
“That is a huge challenge and Nicholas has led from the front in seeking to do this. However, the council will now need to work in a new way with different partners to take this forward.
“Nicholas has made a huge contribution to Kensington and Chelsea during his eight years with us and is greatly admired by staff and members. I am enormously grateful to him.”