Local election results 2018: Conservatives hold Kensington and Chelsea in first election since Grenfell tragedy

The Conservatives have retained control of Kensington and Chelsea council despite speculation Labour could win followingthe Grenfelltragedy.

The Tories held the council with 36 seats, Labour gained two to reach 13 seats, while the Lib Demshaveone.

Elizabeth Campbell, the council's leader, promised to be open to "new ways of working" as she addressed the hall, acknowledging the extra seats gained by Labour.

Alluding to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Tory councillor said: "I think we all recognise we still need to rebuild trust.

"And to do that we need to earn trust. And we need to earn it day by day and by our actions, not just by our words.

189586836-count-volunteers-sort-ballot-papers-at-kensington-town-hall-london-as-counting-begins-acro.jpg, by admin

"We also recognise that all of us in Kensington and Chelsea live in the shadow of Grenfell. And Grenfell was, Grenfell is and Grenfell will be our first priority."

The Tory-held town hallfaced fierce criticism for its response to the tragedy last June.

Labour MP Emma Dent Coad was pictured with her head in her hands after taking a short nap as the votes were counted.

The west London borough has seen a surge in turnout this year to 39.7 per cent, which is an increase of nine percent from the last time residents went to the polls for a local election.

Local Labour leader Mr Atkinson earliertold the Standard: “Whilst we are not going to win the council I’m very pleased by the turnout. We are going to win seats in areas where we haven’t been active for decades.

“It looks like the efforts of Labour councillors in north Kensington have been appreciated as the Labour vote there is up substantially. The work we have put into the marginal wards is also paying off even though we might not win some of them.”

Justice 4 Grenfell : The campaign's logo is beamed onto the local town hall as votes are counted inside (PA)

He added: “I hope that the Tories are going to be humbled by heir experience tonight. They need to be humble and listen.

"It wasn’t a good sign that the Tories couldn’t be bothered to turn up to hustings in North Kensington. They are still not listening to North Kensington.”

The Tories also facedcompetition from Advance Together, a new independent party putting forward 14 candidates in 12 wards.

With the exception of Notting Dale and Colville, the Advance candidates were targeting Conservative strongholds.

In a nod to Grenfell, the new party made housing a key policy area, promising: "Homes will be made safer and any issues raised by the community will not be ignored."

Annabel Mullin, who was born and grew up in the borough, founded the party. She said campaigning from scratch had been challenging but that people had been very receptive, and the party was most likely to gain seats in the wards at the centre of the borough.

"It's very hard to tell. It's very positive when we talk to people at their doors but you never know how it translates into the booths," the mother of three added.

Asked if she was concerned her party might inadvertently aid the Conservatives by splitting the vote, she said: "I think anything that gives us more democratic choice in our society is a good thing."

Referring to Grenfell, she added: "I think people feel that they've been let down hugely, whether it's people in the north or people in the south, by the council not caring about the fabric of the community."

A total of 37,835 votes were cast in the borough.

A host of new faces will transform the local authority, with just under half of its Tory councillors not standing for re-election.

Seventeen Tory councillors, including the former leader and deputy leader of the council, Nick Paget-Brown and Rock Feilding-Mellen, were not re-standing.

The pair both stood down amid criticism of the council's response during the aftermath of the fire, which left 71 people dead.

The Grenfell tower is located in the Notting Dale ward in the poorer north of the borough, which Mr Atkinson said he expected to remain red.

Campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell’s logo was beamed onto the town hall as the votes continued to be counted during the early hours of Friday.

Read more news of London on our site.

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