A number of councillors walked out of a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) as key changes were made at the top of Slough Borough Council.
At the extraordinary full council meeting, Cllr Rob Anderson resigned from his position as leader of the council before a motion calling for his removal could be discussed.
Cllr Sohail Munawar (Lab, Elliman) was voted in as new leader shortly afterwards.
During his resignation speech, Cllr Anderson thanked his ‘band of brothers’ who had served him over the years.
He also urged councillors to ‘keep faith in what we believe in’ and ‘use politics as a shield not a sword’ before he took up his place on the back bench.
Cllr Anderson was soon followed by Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) who resigned from his position as deputy leader, as well as commissioner of neighbourhood and renewal, despite Cllr Munawar asking him to be part of his cabinet.
Fellow cabinet members Cllr Martin Carter, Cllr Pavitar Kaur Mann and Cllr Satpal Parmar also resigned from their positions and took a place on the back bench.
Councillors, including Cllr Anderson, were met by heckles from the public and fellow councillors as they left the hall at The Centre in Farnham Road before the vote for a new leader was held.
After the vote had taken place and the full council meeting resumed, Cllr Munawar took the opportunity to thank the council.
He said: “It is a great honour for me. I love this country and this place and I will do everything to make this town a better place.”
A statement from Slough Conservatives on Cllr Anderson stepping down and Cllr Munawar becoming new leader:
Five years after Slough’s first of three failed Ofsted report, we are satisfied that Cllr Rob Anderson and Cllr Pavitar Mann have been held to account for their failures.
The Slough Conservatives have been demanding their resignations for five long years and are disappointed both Cllr Anderson and Cllr Mann did not have the decency to step down after the third failed Ofsted inspection in 2015.
We are also disappointed that Labour Councillors failed to support past Conservative motions in asking for Cllr Anderson and Cllr Mann to take responsibility for their failed leadership and step down.
Despite the self-serving nature of the Labour motion, we are content that Cllr Anderson and Cllr Mann have been held responsible for failing the most vulnerable people in our town.
Cllr Munawar has promised a more inclusive politics which we clearly welcome and support. He must learn from the past mistakes of Cllr Anderson and Cllr Swindlehurst and put Slough’s interest before their own.
Cllr Anderson and Cllr Swindlehurst have left a legacy of mistrust and failure and Cllr Munawar and his new cabinet need to act quickly in fixing their many failures.
We will be watching the new administration very closely over the coming months and holding them to account at every turn.
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