The leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, Nick Paget-Brown, has resigned following weeks of criticism for the borough's handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Paget-Brown said he will formally step down once a new leader has been put in place.

Announcing the decision, he said he accepts a "share of responsibility" for "perceived failings" in the council's response to the fire at the tower block in west London.

Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen has also resigned as deputy leader of the council.

Paget-Brown's resignation arrived after a meeting of council cabinet members – the first one since the fire – was abandoned following outcry as they tried to ban the public and then the press from attending.

The move was condemned by 10 Downing Street. A spokesperson said: "Our view is that access to democracy should always be easy, and we think that's vital if people want to retain confidence in our democratic system.

"I can't obviously speak for the council, but there are rules that state all meetings must be open to the public except in certain circumstances.

"As we saw in this specific case, the high court ruled that the meeting should be open, and we would have expected the council to respect that."

In his resignation letter, Paget-Brown said: "The Grenfell Tower Fire has been possibly the worst tragedy London has seen since the end of the Second World War. Nobody will ever forget what they saw that day and the horror that ensued for people trapped inside.

"As council leader I have to accept my share of responsibility for these perceived failings. In particular, my decision to accept legal advice that I should not compromise the public enquiry by having an open discussion in public yesterday (29 June) has itself become a political story and it cannot be right that this should have become the focus of attention when so many are dead or still unaccounted for."

Nick Paget-Brown
Nick Paget-Brown faced calls to resign from Sadiq Khan and MPs Getty

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had previously called for Paget-Brown's resignation, adding the council as a whole is "not fit for purpose".

Following his resignation, Khan said: "Last night's decision to abandon the council's cabinet meeting has merely compounded the misery for local people who are grieving, traumatised and desperate for answers.

"The council now needs to find a way to move forward and find a way to restore the confidence in that community. That can only be done with new leadership and a new approach that reaches out to residents who quite rightly feel desperately neglected."

Responding to the news, Joe Delaney, from the Grenfell Residents Action Group, said: "We wouldn't have confidence in the council with or without him as leader. These people are not earning the salaries they have earned."

The news of Paget-Brown stepping down follows on from the resignation of the council's chief executive Nicholas Holgate in response to the fire which killed at least 80 people.

Elsewhere, Robert Black, chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, said he will "step aside" from his role in order to concentrate on the public inquiry into the Grenfell disaster.

Grenfell Tower
At least 80 people are confirmed to have died at Grenfell Tower Getty