Remove Simon Dudley from Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council

Remove Simon Dudley from Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council

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RBWM Residents started this petition to Mary Severin (Monitoring Officer, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead)

Update 21 May 2019 - In light of https://www.facebook.com/420912338378260/posts/636994073436751, control of this petition and access to the list of signatories has now been passed over to the RBWM opposition councillors.

We the residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead seek to have Simon Dudley removed as Leader of RBWM, for repeatedly bringing the council into disrepute.

Most recently he, as shown in this video recorded at Maidenhead Mosque on 26 April 2019 (six days before the local council elections):

  1. Offered "preferential treatment" and/or "first refusal" on council-owned land to the Islamic Trust for the expansion of Maidenhead Mosque in order to win votes - something not published in his party's manifesto, or within his sole power to deliver.
  2. Misled the Islamic Trust about being in an active negotiation with the Ivy Leaf Club re their surrender of a lease for the above, implying that the land would be available in the near future if the Conservatives were re-elected to run the council. Members of the committee that runs the Ivy Leaf have subsequently confirmed that no active negotiation existed, no contact had been received from RBWM for at least 6 months before the speech, and that their lease still had more than 25 years to run at the time the speech was made (https://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/news/maidenhead/144706/ivy-leaf-club-secretary-hits-out-at-council-leader-over-land-promise-at-mosque.html)
  3. Acted contrary to "purdah" rules by having RBWM channels send communications to the Islamic Trust during the pre-election period that were both contrary to existing council policy, and could be seen as advantageous to a particular candidate or party. Published council policy (the Borough Local Plan) designates the site in question for future housing, not expansion of existing premises.

These actions were not communicated to opposition candidates or the wider electorate and the video only surfaced after the election, which clearly gave an unfair advantage to the Conservative candidates - particularly in Cllr Dudley's Riverside ward, which includes areas such as North Town with a significant Muslim population.

Given that the election was closely fought, with two Conservative candidates winning seats by margins of only 11 and 99 votes, the above could have changed multiple ward results and potentially even overall control of the council.

Update 18 May 2018:

The Monitoring Officer has stated that the Members' Code of Conduct has not been breached, and Thames Valley Police do not believe that any offences have taken place.

Nonetheless, the events depicted in the video are clearly not within the spirit of the rules, or consistent with the "Nolan Principles" described at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life--2.

Furthermore, this is the latest in a series of incidents involving Cllr Dudley that have brought RBWM into disrepute, including:

  1. The decision by RBWM in 2015 to award £480,000 of Section 106 money to a school that Cllr Dudley founded (https://schoolsweek.co.uk/council-hands-over-windfall-to-free-school/). This led to negative coverage in the national press, including the council being featured in "Rotten Boroughs" in Private Eye magazine.
  2. A letter written by Cllr Dudley to Thames Valley Police in 2018 requesting use of the Vagrancy Act to remove homeless people from the streets of Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/28/windsor-council-leader-simon-dudley-faces-challenge-over-remove-homeless-call). This led to negative coverage in national print/televised media, a statement from the Prime Minister challenging the comments, the resignation of 3 Conservative councillors and a motion of no confidence in Cllr Dudley.

We request that the Monitoring Officer takes time to reflect upon the growing damage done to the reputation of RBWM by all of these issues, and the erosion of trust of the local population in our democratic processes.

We request that the purdah issue is thoroughly investigated, not only by RBWM but also by referral to a suitable independent third party such as the Local Government Ombudsman, and that all findings are published to ensure full transparency.

We request also that this petition be presented to a meeting of Full Council at RBWM as a "Petition for Debate", and encourage the opposition councillors to table a motion of no confidence in Simon Dudley as Leader of the council, on the basis that he has repeatedly brought the council into disrepute.

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0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!