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Tories ask rich voters to rate importance of Grenfell Tower fire

The Guardian logo The Guardian 14/11/2017 Chris Johnston
As well as questions on parking and rubbish collection, voters were asked to score ‘the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower and help for the families affected and the wider community’. © PA As well as questions on parking and rubbish collection, voters were asked to score ‘the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower and help for the families affected and the wider community’.

Voters in one of the richest parts of Kensington and Chelsea have been asked to rate the importance of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 69 people in June.

The Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservative Association sent a questionnaire to residents of the Courtfield ward, which is bordered by Cromwell and Fulham Roads and includes some of London’s most desirable squares.

Respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 how important a number of “local issues” were to “you and your family”. 

Video: Grenfell tower survivors to have rent and bills covered until summer 2019 (PA)

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As well as questions on parking and rubbish collection, voters were asked to score “the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower and help for the families affected and the wider community”.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, tweeted an image of the leaflet, which he branded “offensive and insensitive” and called for apologies to be made.

“There should be apologies and the individuals involved should certainly be considering their positions. I simply cannot understand how this was allowed to happen,” he tweeted.

Lammy added: “Grenfell inquiry has barely got under way and the same group of politicians who have been in charge of the RBKC [Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea] appear to be already brushing what happened under the carpet.”

The Conservative-led council came under intense criticism for its response to the tragedy, prompting the resignation of its leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown.

An official inquiry into the factors leading to the tragedy has begun and Scotland Yard is still determining exactly how many people died in the fire.

Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives sent out the questionnaire just days before the five-month anniversary of the tragedy. 

It also included questions about how residents rated the importance of “keeping council tax low”, and what they thought of local schools and recycling.

The survey had also been posted on the association’s website but was no longer available.

The Conservative association and Conservative party headquarters did not respond to requests for comment.

Kensington and Chelsea council said on Twitter that the questionnaire was “not from or sent by the council”.

The Courtfield ward, in the wealthier southern part of the area covered by the west London council, is represented by three Tory councillors: Anthony Coates, Quentin Marshall and Elizabeth Rutherford.

The Notting Dale ward, in the northern part of the borough, where the Grenfell Tower is located, is represented by three Labour councillors: Robert Atkinson, Judith Blakeman and Beinazir Lasharie.

A damning report on inequality in Kensington and Chelsea published on Monday highlighted the close proximity of extreme wealth and poverty in the area around Grenfell Tower.

The Guardian reported last week that at least 178 children who lost their homes because of the fire were still living in hotels in London.

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