Grenfell Tower council chief quits

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The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council has quit after a barrage of criticism for its response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Nicholas Holgate said the Communities and Local Government Secretary had "required the leader of the council to seek my resignation" on Tuesday.

He added in a statement that he would have been a "distraction" if he had stayed in his post after the "heart-breaking tragedy", which left at least 79 feared dead.

Mr Holgate said: "Serving the families so desperately affected by the heart-breaking tragedy at Grenfell Tower remains the highest priority of the council."

He said there is a "huge amount" still to do for the victims "in very challenging circumstances" and added: "If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction."

He continued: "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."

Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said he accepted the resignation "with great regret" and added that "the council will now need to work in a new way with different partners to take this forward".