Council meeting plunged into chaos again as people shout ‘you have no authority’

A parish council meeting descended into chaos again – as random members of the public shouted “you have no authority”.

Handforth Parish Council shot to fame when a video of councillors arguing went viral earlier this month.

Footage showing clerk Jackie Weaver removing disruptive people was viewed millions of times, capturing the attention of the nation.

The council’s newfound fame resulted in around 80 people attending a Zoom call at 7pm, with thousands also watching a stream on YouTube.

Ms Weaver – who wasn’t in attendance – had called for calm ahead of the meeting and said she hoped it would mark the “turning of a new leaf”.

And although councillors initially tried to behave themselves this time, some people did not – with the new clerk having to remove and mute unruly members of the public.

Shouts of “Jackie Weaver would not tolerate this” and “you have no authority” disrupted the meeting, with councillors warning that some were doing so “for a laugh” and such behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.

Comedy music such as the ‘Benny Hill Theme’ was also played in the background, which was quickly stopped.

And some members of the public could be seen smoking on the Zoom call, with one shielding their face with a large safari hat.

Chairman Brian Tolver – who was booted out of the previous meeting – quipped at one point that a disruptive person would be sent “to Peru”.

He started off by trying to be calm after the shambolic scenes seen in the viral clip, adding: “If we don’t have order we won’t have a meeting, will we?”

But, after the council had debated a number of planning issues before moving to a full agenda, the legality of the previous meeting and its standing orders were mentioned – raising tensions again.

The second meeting saw heated scenes between councillors, with comments about Mr Tolver’s attitude and behaviour.

Cheshire East Council mayor Barry Burkhill, an independent councillor for Handforth, faced a vote of no-confidence over his role in the viral meeting earlier on Wednesday, which has been referred to Cheshire East Council’s Standards Committee.

The motion, proposed by Cheshire East Conservative councillor Liz Wardlaw, claims Mr Burkhill “made no attempt to intervene as it became clear participants in that meeting were being bullied”.

Ms Weaver – the star of the previous meeting – said she would “have been happy to have been involved this time”.

But she said she was stepping aside as a new clerk had assumed the role and taken their “proper place”.

She added: “I hope it will be the turning of a new leaf, but I fear the only thing that will resolve the tensions in Handforth is when they ultimately have an election in May, when the seat that is currently vacant is up for election.”

Ms Weaver became an overnight internet sensation for her calm handling of the December 10 meeting, which saw Mr Tolver kicked off the call twice, including in the council’s extraordinary meeting held later in the evening.

Following the chairman’s eviction, vice-chairman Aled Brewerton, joined by an older unnamed man, proceeded to yell at Ms Weaver to “read the standing orders”.

When fellow councillor Susan Moore called for civility, the meeting erupted into semi-hysterical laughter and Mr Brewerton and Mr Burkhill were also removed.