Furious Conservative councillors are wondering who in their ranks leaked the embarrassing fact that a 'no confidence' vote in their party leader is to be debated by his own Tory colleagues behind closed doors.

Cllr Simon Dudley caused a flurry of controversy when he wrote to police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld calling for tougher action against beggars and rough sleepers in Windsor.

Opposition councillors have responded by calling for a vote of 'no confidence' in Cllr Dudley to be debated in an open meeting of the Royal Borough.

But more embarrassingly for Cllr Dudley, a member of his own Conservative group has also moved a motion of 'no confidence' which could see him removed as leader of the council if it succeeds.

It will be discussed at the next meeting of the group on January 22.

But it will happen behind closed doors When asked about the vote Cllr John Story - who chairs the Conservative group - refused to discuss the matter saying: "Meetings of political groups are private."

The no confidence motion would have needed a seconder within the group to be accepted. But it is unclear how many of the 51 strong Tory group will support it.

A letter sent to the Observer signed by six Windsor and Eton based councillors - Ed Wilson, Malcolm Alexander, John Bowden, Hashim Bhatti, Mike Airey and Wesley Richards - shows solid support for Cllr Dudley and his call for a clampdown.

It says: "Residents and business owners have identified some people who are begging in the streets of Windsor and claiming to be homeless when, in fact, they have homes in the town.

"We are accountable for the condition of our town and we will not let it be abused by those who claim to be homeless but are really just begging.

"We want our town back for good and not just for the royal wedding."

The letter ends by saying: "Cllr Simon Dudley has asked for help in solving the complex issue of rough sleeping and begging in Windsor. We will support him in this task and ask that residents, businesses and charities also help - together we will make Windsor cleaner and safer to live and work."