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Deputy mayor 'heartbroken' after Conservative deselection

Conservative councillors have remained tight-lipped over their selection process after the Royal Borough’s deputy mayor announced he had not been chosen to stand in the next local elections in May.

Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) was not picked to fight for the new Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury ward.

He made the announcement after Conservative members in that ward selected three other candidates at a meeting in Wraysbury on Saturday.

The Express understands at least one other Conservative branch, in Maidenhead, had a selection meeting. But when the Express emailed Conservative councillors who had not confirmed if they were standing on Monday, only Cllr Jesse Grey (Con, Datchet) replied to say he will be standing.

Cllr Grey confirmed he was one of the candidates chosen to stand for Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, a ward created after the Local Government Boundary Commission recommended that the Datchet ward merge with Horton and Wraysbury.

That recommendation followed a review by the commission as part of a drive to reduce the number of councillors from 57 to 41 from next year’s election.

Two minutes after the Express received Cllr Grey’s message, council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) emailed to say: “The MCA (Maidenhead Conservative Association) process and WCA (Windsor) process will be completed by the end of October and we will press release the full slate then.”

No other Conservative contacted replied after that.

Cllr Rayner told the Express: “My view is that it has broken my heart that I have been deselected by my Conservative colleagues but it was carried out as per the rules. It was a fair fight and, on the day, the members of Wraysbury and Horton and mainly Datchet Conservatives decided the other candidates are far better qualified than me.”

Cllr Rayner, who was mayor in 2012/13, also said he was ‘deeply, deeply upset’ and noted he had served as councillor for 13 years.

He pointed to his achievements such as lobbying for the British Army to help during flooding in the ward area.

He has resigned from his chairmanships of committees such as the Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel and the Tourism Development Board, saying: “If you have been deselected you can’t carry on.”

He added that he will continue as councillor until the election, and support the borough’s ‘wonderful’ mayor, Cllr Paul Lion.

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