London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for independent commissioners to run Kensington and Chelsea council after its leader resigned over the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Khan welcomed Nicholas Paget-Brown's decision to step down, but said that residents of the borough and the public could no longer trust members of the council to handle the situation.

He said residents "quite rightly feel desperately neglected" and that the government had no choice but to appoint "untainted" leaders who had "a genuine empathy for local people and the situation they face".

Khan called on the government to bring in commissioners following the sustained criticism of the Conservative-led council, which cancelled its cabinet meeting on Thursday (29 June) after its attempt to ban the press and the public failed.

The call has been backed by other members of the Labour Party, including shadow housing secretary John Healey.

Healey told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's right, it's necessary, it is a big step for government to take, but this council has not been doing the job for the Grenfell Tower residents or the community around north Kensington, especially on housing and family support after the fire.

"But most importantly, and this is the point that others have made, the public and residents' trust can't be restored by simply replacing the leader and deputy leader by other politicians from the same political group at this stage.

"This is where ministers need to step in, they've been off the pace at every stage in this tragedy, too slow to grasp the scale of the problems and too slow to act, and they need to act on this front now."

Lord Kerslake, a former head of the Civil Service and a cross-bench peer, told the same programme that commissioners are "not brought in lightly" and that it would need careful consideration.

"The test for me about whether commissioners come in – I wouldn't like to make that judgement not being close to the detail – is really essentially. Can the council do the job that is necessary to make the building safe and in particular to support those who have been affected?" he said.

"The pace of response has been the issue and also I have to say the communication. The public have a right to know what's going on."

Sadiq Khan
File image of London Mayor Sadiq Khan Reuters