Sunday, July 21

May wades into Royal Wedding homelessness row



Theresa May has distanced herself from a Tory council leader who called for rough sleepers to be cleared from Windsor before the Royal Wedding.

The Prime Minister said she disagreed with comments made by Simon Dudley, who said beggars may show the town in a sadly unfavourable light when Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle in May.

He has been slammed for his tweets that said some rough sleepers had made a commercial life choice praying (sic) on residents and tourists.

In a letter to police, Mr Dudley also complained about aggressive begging and intimidation, and bags and detritus on the streets.

Asked about the remarks during a visit to a hospital in nearby Camberley, the Prime Minister said: “I don’t agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made.

British Prime Minister Theresa May (R) talks with Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood during a visit to a new housing development I think it is important that councils work hard to ensure that they are providing accommodation for those people who are homeless, and 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.

Mr Dudley’s comments have been described as sickening by Murphy James, of Windsor Homeless Project, who said: It’s absolutely abhorrent that anybody has got these views in this day and age, especially a lead councillor of the borough.

British Prime Minister Theresa May walks from her car during a visit to a new housing development He added: I went out on Christmas Day and there were 12 people laid out on Windsor High Street. They were not there by choice.

World media crews are expected to join thousands of wellwishers in Windsor for the royal wedding on May 19.

Mr Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, tweeted that there was an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in the town and demanded police focus on dealing with this before the #RoyalWedding.

Windsor Police tweeted in reply: “We need to protect the most vulnerable in society by working together but each agency must understand its own unique responsibilities.

Prime Minister Theresa May (R) with Frimley Health CEO Sir Andrew Morris (L) at Frimley Park Hospital on January 4, 2018 in Frimley, England. Housing is the responsibility of the council but it is better that agencies work together so people don’t become homeless.

We deal with reports of begging proportionately but we have not had reports of anyone being marched to cashpoints to take out money.

Mr Dudley wrote a letter to Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police, Anthony Stansfeld, dated January 2, calling on officers to take action.

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Mr Stansfeld said he was somewhat surprised that the letter was released publicly before being sent directly to me.

I myself attended a Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council in October and these issues were not raised, he added.

I will of course provide Cllr Dudley with a full response addressing his concerns once I have received the letter and investigated further the issues he has raised.