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Politics Tory candidates slammed for plot to ‘spin’ Grenfell tragedy

TORY candidates for Kensington and Chelsea Council have been reprimanded by a pub manager for being obnoxious and allegedly plotting how to “spin” the Grenfell Tower tragedy when canvassing.

The candidates were told off by the unnamed manager of the Ladbroke Arms in Notting Hill, west London, on Monday — just a mile from the tragic tower.

Another manager, who did not wish to be named and was not on duty at the time, told the Star today: “A couple of guests complained about them being intrusive.

“They were handing out leaflets and bothering other people. They were also talking loudly among themselves and apparently the things they were talking about were inappropriate.”

She said that the manager on duty asked the candidates – who are seeking to be elected on May 3 – to behave or be chucked off the premises.

A photo of the candidates at the pub was posted on Facebook and they were identified as Maxwell Woodger for Queen’s Gate ward, Laura Round for Pembridge, Lloyd North for Earl’s Court, and Greg Hammond for Courtfield.

It is alleged that Mr Woodger was overheard briefing another person on how to “spin” the Grenfell tragedy by telling voters of the number of survivors who have yet to be rehoused: “What we need to get across is that there are only X still left in hotels – and they’re only there basically [because] they’re milking the system.”

A Kensington and Chelsea Conservatives spokesman told the Star that Ms Round did not have any discussions about Grenfell and that allegations concerning Mr Woodger were “categorically untrue.”

The spokesman claimed that the allegations of campaigning, bad language and behaviour – which were confirmed by the manager – were false and that they were only told off for having political leaflets and rosettes.

Lady Victoria Borwick – who was MP for Kensington for two years before being unseated by 20 votes last June by Labour’s Emma Dent Coad in a historic defeat – joined the candidates at the pub to offer her support, the blog also states.

Ms Dent Coad told the Star: “This is a truly shocking story which I have heard from a number of sources.

“If true, it will be yet another damning indictment of Kensington and Chelsea Tories’ total lack of empathy and understanding for the survivors of the fire.”

Only 89 survivors of the tower block fire on June 14 – that killed at least 71 people – have been permanently rehoused by the council.

A Justice for Grenfell spokeswoman told the Star that it “would not come as a surprise” if the allegations about candidates spinning the Grenfell Tower tragedy for a “PR exercise” were true.

She added: “Discussing how to spin Grenfell would be no surprise as we have been so aware of the Conservative council’s general disdain and institutional indifference towards us.

“It is not just arrogance and crassness, its incompetence is infuriating. The council has spent £21 million on hotels for survivors since the fire, which is enough to build the tower three times over.”

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