10:04PM, Monday 29 January 2018
‘Down with Dudley’ read the signs of protesters outside the Town Hall this evening (Monday).
The international media and scores of residents gathered in the Desborough Suite to see the Royal Borough leader survive a motion of no confidence at an extraordinary council meeting.
The motion was put forward by the borough’s opposition councillors in the wake of Cllr Dudley’s (Con, Riverside) controversial comments about dealing with 'aggressive begging' in Windsor before the Royal Wedding.
The motion, submitted by Cllr Claire Stretton (Ind, Boyn Hill), stated that his comments ‘brought the council and councillors into disrepute’.
German television was among the press that lined up on the stage to report on the meeting after Cllr Dudley’s comments on begging caused an international media storm.
The council leader listened to criticism about his leadership but before debate started said: “I categorically disagree with the motion. It was driven by personal issues from some members of this council which are longstanding and well known.”
After toing and froing over whether the motion would go ahead a ‘truncated’ debate started.
Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) said Cllr Dudley caused ‘national and international uproar’ with a letter sent to Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Anthony Stansfeld about the rough sleeping situation in Windsor.
The opposition leader said she was ‘astounded’ the letter was released into the public domain before Mr Stansfeld had received it.
Cllr Jones said she ‘certainly did not agree’ with the content of the letter adding, ‘he does not speak for me, that is the issue’.
“Cllr Dudley’s actions have shown that there is no respect for this democratic process of council and that has led to his actions bringing the council into disrepute,” she said.
“This had happened because one man has been given the power to act alone.”
Cllr Wisdom Da Costa (Ind, Clewer Noth) echoed her thoughts saying: “We do not seek to attack the individual but address poor behaviours.
“But sometimes when poor behaviours are repeated it becomes necessary to deal with the individual.”
But Cllr Dudley gained strong support from his Conservative colleagues.
Cllr Ed Wilson (Con, Clewer South) said that although the council leader made a mistake mentioning the Royal Wedding his concerns are ‘legitimate’ and he was right to ask for help from the police.
Cox Green councillor Ross McWilliams (Con) also backed up his leader, saying the letter brought attention to a ‘very important issue’.
In the aftermath of Cllr Dudley’s comments, Cllr Jesse Grey (Con, Datchet) was seen on various new channels defending him.
In the meeting he said: “If any one of us was writing this letter we would have all used different vocabulary and a different style.
“Cllr Dudley has had a lot of success in the borough.
“In his style and in his way he wrote that letter to the police appealing for help.”
After nearly three hours of discussion it came to the vote which saw 43 votes against and nine in favour of the motion.
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