McWilliams found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute

This afternoon, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have notified us that Councillor Ross McWilliams (Conservative, Cox Green) has been found guilty of “bringing his role and local authority into disrepute”.

The panel was made up of one of his fellow Conservative councillors, one independent councillor and an independent non-elected person. It was unanimous in its verdict.

Twenty people submitted complaints after the Maidenhead Planning meeting on the 17th of November 2021. During this meeting, Cllr. McWilliams proposed to ignore the advice of professional planning officers, which was to reject planning application 21/02866/FULL. He persuaded the Conservative bloc to support it, including his ward colleague, Cllr. Philip Haseler, who had, in the previous February, voted against the near identical application. In fact, the vagaries of the voting system saw Cllr. Haseler contradict his earlier opinion four times throughout that one evening!

They continued to support him after Cllr. John Baldwin (Lib Dem, Belmont) publicly revealed that Cllr. McWilliams had concealed his close relationship to the applicant. We understand from local press reports that another party connected to the application is now his employer.

On the night, no-one was aware that Cllr. McWilliams had been  advised by the most senior legal officer on RBWM’s staff not to participate. Advice he chose to ignore.

This Councillor is still a serving Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Housing Opportunity (for who, we wonder? It’s certainly not you.), Digital Connectivity and Sport & Leisure.

Council Leader, Cllr. Andrew Johnson (Conservative, Hurley and Walthams) has a decision to make. He must either accept the verdict and dismiss Cllr. McWilliams or admit that his administration thinks it appropriate to cede huge influence to a person who has, and therefore must continue to, damage the reputation of our Royal Borough.

McWilliams found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute

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