Jackie Weaver 'did not have authority' to kick out councillors in viral Zoom meeting

29 March 2022, 20:07 | Updated: 29 March 2022, 20:11

Handforth Parish Council Zoom meeting descends into chaos

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Jackie Weaver, who rose to stardom when a Zoom parish council meeting went viral last year, did not "have the authority" to mute and remove councillors, a report has concluded.

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The chaotic Handforth Parish Council meeting propelled Ms Weaver to online fame for her cool handling of angry councillors.

She was famously told "you have no authority here Jackie Weaver, no authority at all" during the ill-tempered meeting, clips of which racked up millions of views online.

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The BBC said six reports totalling 145 pages have been published by Cheshire East Council investigating the behaviour of councillors at the parish council.

Three looked at behaviour in the meeting, with one saying Ms Weaver "was not acting in an official capacity" and that Ms Weaver believed her actions were necessary given how some of the councillors were behaving.

The reports also said "we can understand why Jackie Weaver acted as she did".

In response, Ms Weaver told the BBC she welcomed the findings but was "deeply saddened that it took so long and cost so much to get there".

Three former councillors were "on the balance of probability" in some breaches of the Code of Conduct for members, the reports found, with some breaches linked to viral meetings.

The councillors have all now resigned, with a statement on their behalf saying they did not accept the findings.

Earlier this month, it revealed that Cheshire East Council has spent more than £85,000 investigating the rows at Handforth Parish Council.

Jackie Weaver hints that sexism the root problem in viral video

During the meeting, chairman Cllr Brian Tolver - after being told he could be removed - said to Ms Weaver: "You have no authority here Jackie Weaver. No authority at all."

Ms Weaver, the meeting's clerk, kicked him out, irritating another member of the committee.

"She's just kicked him out," Cllr Aled Brewerton said repeatedly, without turning his mute button on.

In an attempt to bring order to proceedings, Ms Weaver then said: "This is a meeting called by two councillors."

Cllr Brewerton interrupted: "Illegally."

Ms Weaver continued: "You may now elect a chairman."

"No they can't because the vice-chair's here. I take charge," Cllr Brewerton said, before shouting at the top of his voice: "Read the standing orders. Read them and understand them."

Cries of "dear me", "appalling behaviour" and "stop it" could then be heard off-screen.

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