NEWS
10/02/2021 18:53 GMT

Handforth Parish Council: Mayor Faces No Confidence Vote After Zoom Meeting Chaos

Barry Burkhill, mayor of Cheshire East, urged to "consider his position” after failing to intervene in "bullying”.

The mayor of a Cheshire town where a parish council Zoom meeting went viral faces the threat of being ousted.

Clips of the Handforth Parish Council meeting were last week seen by millions of people and made councillor Jackie Weaver a global name.

Now Barry Burkhill, mayor of Cheshire East, faces a motion of no confidence after he “brought this council into disrepute” for not intervening in “bullying”, the BBC reports.

The motion has been tabled by Conservative councillor Liz Wardlaw, who called on the mayor to “consider his position”. The vote will take place on February 17.

Burkhill is the Independent councillor for Handforth on Cheshire East Council.  A Handforth parish councillor as well, he was caught up in the infamous Zoom call and actually removed from the meeting.

The motion states: “The recent national coverage of the Handforth Parish Council meeting and our mayor’s participation in that meeting has led us to believe he has brought this council and his role within this council into disrepute.

“He made no attempt to intervene as it became clear participants in that meeting were being bullied.

“The inaction of the mayor could be seen as a demonstration of his complicity in the bullying that occurred and this cannot be ignored.

“In light of the above (we propose) this council resolves it has no confidence in the mayor and his term of office as mayor and chairman of the council will cease immediately.”

 

Cheshire East Council
The no confidence motion in full.
 

The meeting on December 10 that captured the world’s attention was only supposed to decide on planning applications, but the tone was set early on when an unseen councillor mumbled “f*** off” under their breath.

It was the second time chair Brian Tolver had been removed, having previously been evicted from an earlier committee meeting. He refused to recognise the legitimacy of either.

He told meeting clerk Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, to “stop talking” and “you have no authority here”.

In response, Weaver removed Tolver from the Zoom call and placed him in a virtual waiting room.

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

When fellow councillor Susan Moore calls for civility, the meeting erupted into semi-hysterical laughter and two further councillors, Brewerton and Burkhill were removed.

There was then confusion over Tolver’s Zoom username, in which he had labelled himself the “clerk”.

Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself ‘clerk’ and notified everybody of the case.

“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”