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Labour council angered by Sajid Javid ‘missing doors’ claim

'Park the politicking', Labour cabinet councillor tells Secretary of State

27 June, 2017 — By Richard Osley

COUNCIL leaders are angrily disputing a claim by the Conservative government’s communities and local government secretary that 1,000 fire doors were “missing” from the Chalcots estate before Friday’s flash evacuation of residents.

Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that fire safety inspectors had discovered  “literally hundreds” of fire doors were missing from the tower blocks in Adelaide Road. The word ‘missing’ has angered Labour council chiefs who say their four figure order of new fire doors is for use as replacements.

One insider said: “If 1,000 doors were missing, that would mean everybody’s front door and every door in the stairwells aren’t on their hinges. It’s just nonsense. Some of them are not up to standard and that’s why we are taking action to make sure everybody gets what they need, but a member of a Conservative cabinet should not be taking pot shots at a Labour council on something like this.”

Mr Javid told MPs last night (Wednesday): “There were problems with gas pipe insulation. There were stairways that were not accessible. There were breaches of internal walls, and, most astonishingly, there were hundreds, literally hundreds of fire doors missing. The estimate by Camden Council itself is that they need at least 1,000 fire doors because they were missing from those five blocks. That had nothing to do with the cladding, clearly something has gone wrong there, drastically wrong. It’s an example again as to why we need to look very carefully at why this has happened in this day and age in our country.”


Council leader Councillor Georgia Gould said: “I want everyone pushing in the same direction – the Council, the Government, political parties of all colours and the emergency services – to get this fixed. Our residents expect nothing less. I am also very clear that our order of up to 1,000 doors, highlighted yesterday, is to ensure we have enough to replace all of the doors in the blocks with the latest high standard fire doors and make these properties safe for residents. We look forward to the ongoing support of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with this.”

Some of her colleagues are being less diplomatic about how they view Mr Javid’s searing comments on Chalcots – which as they were made in the Commons will stay on record in parliament’s archive of daily transcripts, Hansard.

“1,000 doors are not ‘missing,” said Labour cabinet councillor Richard Olszewski. “Sajid Javid, please park the politicking for the moment. I suppose in sensitive situation like this, you would expect a Secretary of State to be factual rather than politically tendentious.”

Conservative leader Councillor Claire-Louise Leyland said: “If Labour is going to accuse Sajid Javid of politicking, surely they should be writing to Jeremy Corbyn and particularly John McDonnell and ask them to stop the incendiary comments they have made about Grenfell. This is a time to work together and recognise that something has gone wrong across London and the country.”


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