LABOUR councillors “believe” council leader James Swindlehurst will lead Slough out of its dire financial situation – despite strong calls for him to resign.

Cllr Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green), who has been leader since November 2017, will stay on to lead the local authority for another four-year period after his party gave their blessing at a full council meeting on Tuesday, November 23.

The leader of the opposing Conservatives, Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con: Haymill & Lynch Hill) said he does not forgive the leader and hoped “God forgives” Cllr Swindlehurst for the huge financial mess Slough is in.

Over the past few months, Cllr Swindlehurst has faced strong calls to resign and even survived a motion of no confidence in an attempt to oust him over the dire financial mess Slough is in.

Cllr Wayne Sturtton, leader of the Conservatives

Cllr Wayne Sturtton, leader of the Conservatives

The borough is facing a huge financial challenge and a massive borrowing bill of £760m that will require the council to sell up to £600m-worth of assets and make about £20m-worth of cuts every year for the next five years.

Independent commissioners appointed by government will oversee the council making every possible step to recover its finances – with the looming threat of them stepping in if they feel the council is not doing enough.

The leader did offer his resignation back in July but was rejected by the Labour party who told him to “sort out” the mess Slough is in.

READ MORE: Slough Labour "did not accept" council leader's resignation

Cllr Strutton said it was “a shame” and questioned if the leadership knew of the financial situation before May’s election.

He said: “It is clear that your Labour group have forgiven you, leader, but I doubt if all of Slough residents will, especially those who will be most impacted over this.

“I won’t because I know the impacts and that harm that’s going to do to the most vulnerable and needy of Slough.

“All I can say is I hope God forgives you for this huge, huge, financial situation that we find ourselves in.”

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Labour councillors believed Cllr Swindlehurst was still the man to dig the local authority out of this financial mess.

Cllr Pavitar K. Mann (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), lead member for planning, said: “In May, the electorate of this town voted overwhelmingly for a strong Labour leadership and until they say otherwise, it is for the Labour councillors in this room to determine our leader.

“Cllr Swindlehurst offered his resignation to the group and the group unanimously rejected this.

Cllr James Swindlehurst

Cllr James Swindlehurst

“We believe he is best placed to lead the road to recovery. We believe he will deliver the recovery whilst doing our best to protect the services that we rely on.

“We also believe he can lead us to help future-proof the council and deliver the most appropriate model for our residents. We believe in Cllr Swindlehurst.”

The leader added they have closed the £18m blackhole and balanced this year’s budget as well as next year’s books subject to setting council tax.