29/01/2018 22:22 GMT | Updated 29/01/2018 23:00 GMT

Windsor Council Leader Survives Vote Of No Confidence After Homelessness Comments

Simon Dudley said rough sleepers could be removed ahead of Royal wedding.

PA Wire/PA Images
Simon Dudley.

The Tory leader of Windsor council who called for police to remove rough sleepers ahead of the royal wedding has survived a “no confidence” vote by councillors.

Simon Dudley said that beggars could present the town in a “sadly unfavourable light” when the world’s gaze is on Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May.

He drew criticism from figures including Prime Minister Theresa May after a letter to police earlier this month, in which he complained about “aggressive begging and intimidation”, and “bags and detritus” on the streets.

But at an extraordinary meeting of the Tory-led council on Monday, councillors defeated a motion accusing Mr Dudley of bringing the authority “into disrepute” by 43 votes to 9.

Dudley had told the meeting: “I categorically disagree with the motion. I think it’s driven by personal issues from some individuals which are longstanding and well known by this council.”

Dudley had urged police to use their powers under the 1824 Vagrancy Act and the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to “protect residents and tourists”.

Last week he survived an attempt within his own Conservative group to oust him.

Three councillors, Paul Brimacombe, Asghar Majeed and Geoffrey Hill, quit the party group in protest after last week’s failed vote, choosing to continue as Independent Conservatives.

Councillors in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead were summoned to the Monday evening, where it heard public questions and a motion of no confidence.

Majeed told the council meeting that Mr Dudley’s comments were “embarrassing the royal family, the Prime Minister, the borough, our residents, members, officers, the list goes on and on and on.

“Can it be any worse than this in reputational terms? Councillor Dudley has once again shown a complete lack of capacity to deal with sensitive issues.”

The motion voted on, which was proposed by former Tory councillor Claire Stretton, read: “To pass a Motion of No Confidence in the Leader of the Council following events during the week commencing 1/1/18, instigated by statements on Twitter and a letter to the Police & Crime Commissioner by Cllr Simon Dudley, that have brought the council and councillors into disrepute.” 

After making the controversial comments, Mr Dudley apologised and said he was not referring to genuine homeless people, and that he regretted referring to Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding at the time.

The couple will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19.

Protesters had gathered outside Maidenhead Town Hall before the meeting, with Angus Cameron, chairman of the Windsor Labour Party, telling the Press Association Mr Dudley’s views had been “scandalous and very Trumpite”.