Notting Hill Carnival ‘should not be moved’, says Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has turned down a request from a Conservative MP to change the route of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Jul 7, 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has turned down a request from a Conservative MP to change the route of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s largest celebration of African-Caribbean culture, but annual stabbings and officer assaults shine a bad light on the event. And in January, a report from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) said the annual event urgently needed rethinking as it warned of a “Hillsborough-scale tragedy”. Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands suggested to Mr Khan on Friday (July 7) to move the carnival after questioning if it was “appropriate” for thousands of people to enjoy the celebration following the Grenfell Tower fire. “The carnival is an important and symbolic community celebration in our capital`s calendar, and one greatly valued and enjoyed by both visitors and Londoners and visitors alike,” he wrote. “Clearly it must go ahead. “However, we have to ask ourselves if it is appropriate to stage a carnival in the near proximity of a major national disaster. “I would like you to consider moving the location, and/or the GLA (Greater London Authority), with its experience of running major events, taking over the carnival, in conjunction with the current organisers.” However, Mr Khan quickly refused, responding on Twitter: “Notting Hill Carnival is a firm London tradition and incredibly important to the local community. It should not be moved.” London Assembly Member for Kensington, Tony Devenish, said Mr Hands’ suggestion was an “excellent and constructive proposal” which gives the Mayor an opportunity to ensure the carnival runs smoothly. “Given it is held so close to Grenfell Tower, the Mayor should use the resources at his disposal to ensure sensitivity and crowd safety are paramount to the event’s organisation,” he added. “These moments are what Londoners elected Sadiq Khan for and he should step up to the plate and deliver a carnival the whole community can celebrate at a time of such mourning.” Last year, on the Ladbroke Grove section of the route, carnival floats and support vehicles caused people to be pushed to the sides of the road, and police officers had to dive in to pull children and distressed adults out of the crowd. And in another part of the route close to Tavistock Gardens, the safety barriers collapsed on three occasions because of the large number of people crowding around the static sound systems in the road, according to the MOPAC. In a report from the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, Mr Khan was told he should change the parade route or moving elements of the carnival to improve crowd management and safety.

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