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UPDATE: Councillor 'perplexed' after being removed from cabinet

Councillor for housing sacked from cabinet

Ross McWilliams has been sacked from the Royal Borough’s cabinet.

Cllr McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), was responsible for housing, and had been given additional responsibilities for economic development, property and communications last month.

Update 2pm:

Cllr McWilliams said today (Wednesday): “I am hugely disappointed to have been removed from cabinet. Having been in post for less than a week I am perplexed and saddened by the decision. 

“I am particularly disappointed as it means leaving the housing brief, where we were making real progress in changing our approach and attitude to the crucial issue of supporting our vulnerable homeless residents, as well as repairing our relationship with local partners.”

He referenced outcry after Cllr Dudley wrote to Thames Valley Police to take action on what he described last year as some homeless people ‘marching tourists to cashpoints to withdraw cash’ in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding.

“There were a number of challenges I inherited in the housing brief, particularly with our approach to homelessness and rough sleeping, as the media attention earlier this year showed,” Cllr McWilliams said.

He had been in the process of putting together a new homelessness strategy, which would detail how the council will help rough sleepers.

He had spoken to groups in the area that could help inform the plans and was planning on putting it to a public consultation following approval by the council’s cabinet.

Thanking council officers for their support, Cllr McWilliams said: “There remain big challenges in the housing brief but I am sure the officer leadership team will continue to follow through on the improvement plan we have in place to repair the service I inherited.

“This decision comes as a shock and a great disappointment. I am going to reflect on the decision and in the meantime I hope the good work we have been doing to reorientate toward delivering a compassionate, thorough and cooperative housing service continues.”

The Royal Borough confirmed Cllr McWilliam’s removal in a statement yesterday.

His cabinet responsibilities have been split between two existing members.

Cllr Mike Airey (Con, Clewer South) will be the lead member for environmental services (including parking, flooding, housing and performance management). He has taken on the parking portfolio from Jesse Grey, who died suddenly on Monday.

Cllr MJ Saunders will add economic development to his lead member for finance brief.

The remaining cabinet members are:

  • Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) - leader of the council and chairman of cabinet, Maidenhead regeneration and Maidenhead
  • Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park) - deputy leader of the council, highways, transport and Windsor
  • Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray)- deputy chairman of cabinet, planning and health (including sustainability)
  • Cllr Natasha Airey (Con, Park) - children’s services.
  • Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick) - culture and communities (including resident and business services).
  • Councillor Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill) - Adult social care and public health.
  • Councillor Lisa Targowska (Con, Belmont) – HR, legal and IT.
  • Also sitting are two principal members: Cllr Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale), neighbourhood planning and Ascot and The Sunnings and Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Cheapside), Ascot regeneration.

Cllr Dudley said: “Following the sudden sad news of Cllr Grey we have made changes to cabinet to ensure his good work continues. I am sure Cllr Mike Airey will take on the challenge and continue the good work Cllr Grey had started.”

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