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Royal Borough mayor calls dressed-down councillors 'disrespectful'

The mayor has called dressed-down councillors ‘disrespectful’ and compared a meeting to a ‘circus’ after a disagreement over how members should present themselves.

Royal Borough mayor Cllr Sayonara Luxton (Con, Sunningdale and Cheapside) hopes to tighten rules on how councillors can dress after one member attended last week’s full council meeting in a T-shirt.

She said: “We are the vanguard, we are the Royal Borough, we have to keep smart.

“The way people dress is disrespectful, they don’t even ask permission, they just take their jackets off. I am in my suit sitting in the heat and they are just in a T-shirt.”

“They are walking in and out behaving like a circus, it’s not a circus, the whole thing needs to have a bit of respect.”

Disputes over councillor's dress began after last week’s full council meeting when council leader Cllr Simon Dudley tweeted that he was concerned about councillors wearing ‘disrespectful attire’ at the meeting.

The tweet was not directed at any individual, but Cllr Jon Davey (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth East) was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt at the meeting.

The mayor will meet Royal Borough managing director Duncan Sharkey next week to discuss a possible rule change to enforce a smarter dress code.

She added: “I understand that they are new councillors and they don’t know, it’s one of these things that they need to learn.

“Some people don’t know the rules or don’t know how it’s done, but it’s no excuse. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the meeting process before.”

The Council Constitution states council officers should dress ‘professionally’, but does not outline a dress code for councillors.

Defending his clothing choices, Cllr Jon Davey, whose daughter has a degree in fashion, said: “If you don’t have a dress code people wear what is normal.

“What one person might want to wear is going to be completely different to someone else, it doesn’t matter if there are no rules as long as they are not naked, it’s just got to be sensible.”

Cllr Davey said he initially wanted to create a motion to discuss creating a relaxed dress code, but decided not to as he did not want to ‘create rules when there don’t need to be rules’.

He added that he will ‘wear whatever I am in the mood to wear’ at the next meeting.

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