Labour General Election candidate Emma Dent Coad has reported her Lib Dem opponent Sam Gyimah to the police over comments he made about her in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Ms Dent Coad said she had given her rival in Kensington more than “40 hours to withdraw allegations that are dangerous to me and my volunteers”, but had received no response.
Talking about the Grenfell Tower fire, Mr Gyimah, who defected to the Lib Dems from the Tories, told City AM last week that Ms Dent Coad was “on the council and was part of all the discussions that went on in terms of cladding”.
Alleging that Mr Gyimah is “using this false information politically”, Ms Dent Coad said she reported him to the Metropolitan Police under the Representation of the People Act on Sunday.
“He’s put me in danger,” she told the PA news agency, adding: “Any kind of allegation that I had anything to do with any kind of decision-making is complete nonsense.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson to step in, writing on twitter: “The Lib Dem candidate in Kensington, a former Tory, is trying to shift the blame for Grenfell. It’s disgusting and dangerous. @joswinson must put a stop to it immediately.”
Ms Dent Coad, who snatched Kensington from the Tories in the 2017 election by just 20 votes, said: “It’s just a lie. It’s a lie. It’s just simply not true. And I can prove it.”
In a letter to Mr Gyimah posted on twitter, Ms Dent Coad called on Mr Gyimah to “withdraw your false allegations and admit your error”.
Ms Dent Coad, wrote in a tweet: “Thank you all so much for your support over these untrue allegations. It means a lot to me and my family. We have had nearly 2k msgs of support, RTs etc. I have now reported the matter to police and it has been acknowledged.”
Earlier, she wrote: “I was genuinely hoping you’d show integrity. But no. I will have to report this to the police.”
In a rebuttal, Ms Dent Coad said: “To be clear, I was on the Board when the principle of refurbishing Grenfell Tower was discussed, but I was nowhere near the decision-making process for the detailed specifications for refurbishing Grenfell which started when I left.
“Board members agreed the contract but do not specify cladding or indeed any other technical details. Neither should they.”
A Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said: “The Liberal Democrats have had no contact from the Police.”
It would take another 13 years to remove the deadly Grenfell-type cladding from tower blocks at the rate the Conservative government is going, according to official figures published today.
Removing deadly Grenfell-type cladding from tower blocks would take 13 more years under the Tories
New statistics, 29 months on from the tragedy, reveal that:
- 267 blocks still haven’t had Grenfell-style cladding removed and replaced
- Nine in 10 private blocks have not had Grenfell-style cladding replaced
- 69 block owners do not even have a plan in place to remove the cladding.
According to Labour’s analysis, at the current pace, the government will miss its targets for removing Grenfell style ACM cladding off tower blocks by almost a decade.
After repeated Labour pressure, the Tory government finally set targets, just before the summer recess, to see social blocks completed by the end of the year and private blocks by June 2020.
But at the current rate, the social sector will not be made safe until October 2022 and private blocks until October 2033.
Labour has set out a five-point plan to force the pace of re-cladding on private tower blocks, including updating the sanctions available to councils under the Housing Act 2004 to include fines, followed by confiscation of blocks that still have dangerous cladding.
Earlier this year at Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a deadline of the end of the year for all dangerous cladding to be removed and replaced.
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:
“It shames the Conservatives that two and a half years after the Grenfell Tower fire, thousands of tower block residents are still living in homes with deadly cladding.
“Jacob Rees-Mogg showed the Tories’ true colours recently when he suggested the victims of Grenfell lacked ‘common sense’ and should have escaped. The fact is, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives simply don’t seem to care.”