‘You have no authority’: Chaotic Essex council meeting sparks Jackie Weaver comparisons with police called

‘You have no authority’: Chaotic Essex council meeting sparks Jackie Weaver comparisons with police called

After the Jackie Weaver era ended with Handforth Parish Council “moving away from the viral, toxic [name] as portrayed on YouTube”, it appears as though a new council drama has unfolded to take its place.

Police were asked to intervene in a meeting of Maldon District Council in Essex on Thursday, after one councillor – independent Chrisy Morris – repeatedly interrupted proceedings in an attempt to raise a “point of order”.

In footage posted to his Facebook profile, the Heybridge West councillor could be seen deploying a megaphone to try and grab the attention of Mark Howard, the council chairman.

After Mr Howard described Mr Morris’ behaviour as “unacceptable”, Mr Morris argued that it was in fact the chairman who was being “unacceptable”, as he is “supposed to listen to a point of order”.

“No, I won’t cease this behaviour. You have no authority on me. You have no authority over me, I’m telling you,” said Mr Morris, in remarks which echoed that of Handforth councillor Brian Tolver.

When fellow councillors called on him to leave the session, he replied: “You can’t make me, you idiots! You can’t make me leave the meeting, I’m democratically elected.

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The incident comes after the council’s joint standards committee reported that Mr Morris engaged in “bullying” behaviour and the “disclosure of confidential information” – findings which have been denied by the councillor.

The committee recommended that Mr Morris should be removed from all committees, working groups or outside bodies for “the remainder of the municipal year” to 2022.

As Mr Howard read out details of the committee’s findings, Mr Morris retorted: “You’re the coward, at least I have got the testicular fortitude to sit here and speak my truth.”

He continued to insist that he “will be heard” as a councillor, and police officers were later seen on the livestream telling Mr Morris that he was “breaching the peace by not allowing this [meeting] to continue”.

No arrests were made.

Members of the council proceeded to vote on the sanction on Thursday, with Mr Morris eventually handed an 18-month ban until 2023.

In a statement commenting on Thursday’s chaotic session, Councillor Wendy Stamp, leader of Maldon District Council, said “enough is enough”.

“The public may be seeing Cllr Morris’s disruptive behaviour for the first time at last night’s Council meeting. However, this has been a regular occurrence and we cannot tolerate this type of behaviour any longer and put Members and Staff through any further distress.

“The attacking and disruptive behaviour of Cllr Chrisy Morris cements the outcomes of two independent investigations into his behaviour. Despite the alarming findings in these investigations, Cllr Morris has continued to breach the Council’s code of conduct.

“The first item of business last night was to agree the findings in this report and the sanctions it sets out. His actions clearly disrupted debate on the sanctions from taking place,” she said.

The leader also went on to add that Mr Morris’ point of order was not heard by the chairman as the councillor did not “state which procedure rule [it] referred to”.

She continued: “The Chairman repeatedly asked Cllr Morris to desist his behaviour and having no other option, he followed due process in asking Members to vote that ‘the Member be no longer heard’ and this was supported by all Members without dissension.

“As the disruption continued, the Police were asked to attend as Cllr Morris was preventing the democratic business of Council.”

Twitter has since shared its thoughts on the drama, with the argument prompting mixed responses. Some, meanwhile, called for Jackie Weaver’s intervention:

And if you were wondering what Ms Weaver makes of all this, the viral star told BBC Essex that Mr Morris’ behaviour was “not appropriate”.

Here we were thinking that all the fireworks occurred on Friday…

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