Friends and colleagues of former Royal Borough leader Cllr Simon Dudley have still been ‘left guessing’ a week after his surprise resignation as a councillor.

His letter of resignation was received by the council’s managing director on Thursday last week, to take immediate effect. But it came as a total surprise to colleagues and friends.

His former deputy Cllr David Coppinger said this week: “I was about to get on a plane to go on holiday.”

He is now acting leader of the council but speaking from Portugal this week told the Observer he would not be making future plans until he got back.

Phill Bicknell, a close friend and colleague of Mr Dudley who is now a Datchet Parish Councillor after losing his longstanding seat on the Royal Borough in the April elections, was equally in the dark.

The only contact he has had with Mr Dudley is one text.

He said: “Simon Dudley tends to do things without making a big ‘to do’ about it. I can only surmise he is planning to stand as an MP and does not want to be encumbered by the chairmanship of the Borough Council. Or it could be that in his new role with Homes England he feels he should not have a political alignment.”

This summer Mr Dudley was announced as the new senior independent director of Homes England - a non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing in England.

In response to a request by the Observer he emailed a brief message saying he has nothing to add to his resignation letter which did not give reasons for his decision.

Already opposition parties on the Royal Borough are circling. The Liberal Democrats have announced Kashmir Singh to stand for the party in the expected by-election that will follow Mr Dudley’s resignation A joint statement by the Liberal Democrats said: “Perhaps in time we’ll understand why he felt the need to step down urgently, without any kind of handover period and leaving his residents without his voice on the council.

“We question why Cllr Dudley only realised his national calling now and didn’t step down before the May elections avoiding the need for a by-election.”