Council leader Simon Dudley resigns

James Preston and Will Taylor
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Simon Dudley

Council leader Simon Dudley tendered his resignation as a Royal Borough councillor with immediate effect this morning.

In a letter addressed to managing director Duncan Sharkey and returning officer David Scott, Mr Dudley said the 'time has come for me to move on from the council'.

See below for the latest.

Update 1.15pm: Maidenhead's Liberal Democrats have released a statement reacting to Mr Dudley's resignation.

They said that when he made the news 'it was often for controversial reasons' and cited comments made about homeless people in Windsor and 'his penchant for blocking residents' on social media.

They called on Cllr Coppinger, the interim leader, and 'whoever succeeds' Mr Dudley to 'call a halt to the disastrous Borough Local Plan', 'offer visionary leadership' and 'abandon the party whip, which has no place in local politics'.

The group has also announced its candidate for the Riverside ward by-election. Kashmir Singh 'is a local candidate who is well liked and works hard for his local community', the group said.

"The people of Riverside have a golden opportunity to challenge the status quo in the upcoming by-election, as do the Conservative group when they elect their new leader.

"We urge both to elect somebody who genuinely has what it takes to make a difference."

Update 11.20am: Here's the state of the parties in the Royal Borough following Simon Dudley's resignation. That majority is wafer-thin and the Riverside by-election will be extremely important.

Update 10.20am: In a statement released by the Royal Borough, Duncan Sharkey, the council's managing director, said: "Simon has been a councillor since 2007 and has served on the cabinet as well as being leader of the council since 2016.

"He has driven a large number of positive changes within the organisation and has been heavily involved in the regeneration of Maidenhead over recent years.

"On a personal note I have enjoyed working with Simon and been grateful for the support he has given me since I joined the authority."

He confirmed that full council will meet on Tuesday, September 24 to choose a new leader and a by-election in Mr Dudley's old ward, Riverside, will be held.

Update 9.40am: Deputy council leader Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), who is now interim leader, has confirmed he will stand to replace Mr Dudley as leader.

"I am very sorry that Simon has decided to move on in his career.

"He has moved the borough forward a long way."

"I know he has got ambitions to do other things and it was a possibility."

He said it 'could be' that Cllr Dudley will seek election to Parliament in the anticipated General Election.

A new Tory council leader is expected to be chosen within two weeks, he added.

8.30am: In his letter, Mr Dudley said: "Our great country will leave the European Union in 50 days. I campaigned for this in 2016, and we are now within touching distance. This presents us with a golden opportunity to transform our country for the better. I have always believed in making the future, not watching it happen. My priority now will be to focus on national issues including housing and infrastructure, giving the people of our country the opportunity to own a home.

"I also want to help give every child the opportunity to achieve their full potential through outstanding new schools like Holyport College (which I helped found locally). As we renew the dream of home ownership and build the homes we desperately need, let us also build the schools and education system that our children deserve."

Mr Dudley said it had been an 'enormous honour' to lead the borough since 2016 and thanked all current and previous employees of the council, local voluntary organisations for the 'life-changing work they do' and the residents of Riverside ward for electing him four times.

Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) has taken over as interim leader, supported by Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle).

Updates to follow.

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  • Paul Janik

    18:14, 13 September 2019

    Maidenhead voted to Remain. Mr Dudley wants out, in any circumstances. including a No-Deal. If he replaces TM, I hope the good people of Maidenhead will solidly reject him as unfit and a bad example of the standards required in local Public Life. Paul Janik.



  • jb1815

    13:07, 13 September 2019

    If Cllr. Coppinger knew that this unprecedented abandonment of the Conservative Group and the residents of Riverside "was a possibility" then why on Earth was Simon allowed to stand as a candidate only a few short months ago? The Borough now has to go to the expense of a by-election. The governing party has to tear itself apart with a divisive leadership contest and the inevitable Cabinet reshuffle. That might make for amusing viewing from the sidelines but it is profoundly damaging to the Borough. The residents of Riverside should know that all Liberal Democrat candidates are approved by a committee of local members that includes Tony Hill and Kathy Newbound. To be accepted each applicant must commit to serve a full term. Sickness and death apart, we're all in for the long haul. Getting a better gig after a few months is not an option for us. Kashmir Singh will represent the residents of Riverside with his customary intelligence, energy and passion, should they give him the opportunity, and he will do so until May 2023. At that time I am certain that he would allow his name to go forward and seek their mandate for a full four year term. All nine Liberal Democrat Councillors and the entire membership of the local party will campaign with him to further diminish the Tory majority on the Council and to give the people of Riverside the consistent representation they deserve.



  • sandym

    19:19, 12 September 2019

    If he becomes MP to replace Mrs May, I will cancel my Conservative membership and will not vote for them in the next election.



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