Windsor Council criticised for call to clear rough sleepers ahead of royal wedding

Rosa Smith

The leader of Windsor council has faced heavy criticism after calling for police intervention with rough sleepers ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Simon Dudley, the council leader, wrote to Thames Valley Police asking they use legal powers under the Vagrancy Act 1824 and the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 against people sleeping on the streets and begging.

Mr Dudley claimed that begging in the town created a ‘hostile atmosphere’ for both residents and tourists, and may cast the town in a ‘sadly unfavourable light’ ahead of the royal wedding.

Theresa May was quick to condemn his comments, saying ‘I don’t agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made.’

As MP in for the neighbouring constituency of Maidenhead, she added: ‘Where there are issues of people who are aggressively begging on the streets then it’s important that councils work with the police to deal with that aggressive begging.’

Murphy James, of the Windsor Homeless Project, claimed it was ‘totally unwarranted to bring the royal wedding into this.

‘This shouldn’t be a situation that’s hit the headlines because of a royal wedding. This is a situation that should have hit the headlines because there’s people sleeping in bus shelters.’

Mr Dudley is facing a motion of no confidence.

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