Windsor royal wedding 'begging' row council leader survives vote

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Media caption"Medieval": Find out what Windsor makes of the royal wedding row

A council leader at the centre of a row over begging ahead of the royal wedding has survived a vote of no confidence.

Simon Dudley had suggested rough sleepers would put Windsor in a "sadly unfavourable light" when Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle in May.

The Tory leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead was criticised by the prime minister for his comments, which he claimed had been misconstrued.

On Monday night, councillors defeated a motion to oust Mr Dudley.

At an extraordinary meeting of the council the motion accusing him of bringing the authority "into disrepute" was defeated by 43 votes to nine.

Image copyright Simon Dudley
Image caption Simon Dudley said his initial comments had been misconstrued

Protesters had gathered outside Maidenhead Town Hall before the meeting, with Angus Cameron, chairman of the Windsor Labour Party, describing Mr Dudley's views as "scandalous and very Trumpite".

Speaking ahead of the vote, Mr Dudley said: "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."

Mr Dudley made his initial remarks about tackling "aggressive begging" in a letter to the local Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The confidence vote came after he survived an attempt by his own party to force him out last week.

In response to that result three Tory councillors, Paul Brimacombe, Asghar Majeed and Geoffrey Hill immediately resigned from the party.

Image copyright The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Image caption Asghar Majeed and Paul Brimacombe quit the Conservative party after Mr Dudley survived a no-confidence vote in his own party last week

At Monday's meeting, Mr Majeed said 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".

But Mr Dudley previously said "at no point have I said 'move on the homeless".

"The key thing is to draw the distinction between homelessness - which is an abomination in a civilised society - and anti-social behaviour, which is a very bad and deteriorating situation in Windsor," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"I would like to apologise if I was not clear enough in my communication."

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