Nadia Cenci quits as Ipswich Tory leader after Grenfell Tower tweet

Former Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci. Picture: Contributed.

Former Conservative group leader Nadia Cenci. Picture: Contributed.

Nadia Cenci has resigned as leader of Ipswich Council’s opposition Conservative group, days after coming under attack over her tweets about the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Ms Cenci, who has been a prolific user of Twitter, posted two tweets which were taken as suggesting that she was losing patience with the survivors of the tragedy – and that they were fortunate to have escaped with their lives.

She said that was not what they had meant, although accepted they were “worded badly.” She deleted her Twitter account at the weekend.

She has now resigned as leader of the Conservative group at the borough council, although plans to continue as a backbench member of the authority.

She issued a statement saying: “I have today offered my resignation to the Conservative Group on Ipswich Borough Council, and a new leader will be elected in the next few weeks.

“Last week I engaged in a debate on social media in which I expressed myself indelicately in relation to the Grenfell disaster.

“I ought not to have expressed myself in the terms that I did, and I am profoundly sorry for any offence that my words caused.

“I care very much about the victims of this fire. It is an appalling tragedy, and like many people across the country the stories of the survivors have left me in tears.

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“I shall be continuing as a councillor, and am grateful for the expressions of support I’ve received from residents and colleagues.”

Ms Cenci has led the Conservative group for three years – it has 13 members on the 48-strong borough council.

The authority’s leader David Ellesmere will now be preparing to face his fifth opposition leader since Labour regained power at the council in 2011.

He said: “I think this (her resignation) was inevitable. Her apology was as badly worded as her original comments that caused so much offence.”

Former Conservative council leader Liz Harsant said the group hoped to have a new leader in place by the time the next full meeting of the borough is held on July 26.

She said: “Nadia resigned with great dignity and we were all very sorry about the way this has happened. She did a good job as group leader, but we all realised she was making the right decision.”