'You have no authority': Now Essex council meeting descends into Jackie Weaver-style farce

5 November 2021, 09:40 | Updated: 5 November 2021, 11:08

By James Morris

A local council meeting in Essex descended into chaos last night after a furious slanging match erupted between councillors before it was abandoned and police were called to the scene.

“You have no authority over me,” screamed one of the members at the Maldon District Council meeting.

Councillor Chrisy Morris then refused to leave the meeting so it was called off by chair Cllr Mark Heard.

The council had discussed "standards complaints" – including allegations of bullying and disclosure of confidential information – previously lodged against Cllr Morris.

The chaotic scenes were reminiscent of the notorious Handforth Parish Council meeting which saw clerk Jackie Weaver propelled to online fame in February for her cool handling of angry councillors.

The Maldon meeting was live streamed on YouTube, with the rowing beginning during a one minute’s silence which appeared to be in Sir David Amess’s memory. The Essex Conservative MP was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea last month.

Cllr Morris interrupted the silence in the room to say: “Should be upstanding… one minute’s silence upstanding.”

The Maldon District Council meeting was called off following the row between Cllrs Chrisy Morris, left, and Mark Heard, right
The Maldon District Council meeting was called off following the row between Cllrs Chrisy Morris, left, and Mark Heard, right. Picture: Maldon District Council

His comments were ignored and at the end of the silence, he then raised a “point of order”.

When this was again ignored by Cllr Heard, he aggressively repeated the point of order nine times.

He was then told by Cllr Heard: “Cllr Morris, your behaviour is unacceptable…”

As the pair spoke over each other, Cllr Morris roared: “You have no authority over me, do you Mark?”

This comment was reminiscent of Cllr Brian Tolver's infamous "you have no authority here, Jackie Weaver" at the similarly fraught Handforth Parish Council meeting which emerged in viral footage earlier this year (see below).

After the verbal sparring continued at the Maldon meeting last night, Cllr Morris refused an order to leave the meeting: "You can't make me, you idiots."

The stream then shows two police officers entering the meeting, with one saying he is "essentially breaching the peace" by not allowing it to continue.

LBC has contacted Essex Police for comment.

Cllr Morris continued to shout and argue with the officers as Cllr Heard proceeded through the meeting's agenda items.

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The councillors then discussed the past complaints lodged against Cllr Morris, with members resolving to remove him from all committees and working groups until 2023.

After the disruption continued, the meeting was adjourned. When it recommenced, Cllr Morris once again started bickering with Cllr Heard, who ultimately told the other councillors: "I would ask you to rise and walk out in protest, and I will close the meeting."

Cllr Morris is listed on the council's website as a "non-aligned" independent member, while Cllr Heard is listed as being a member of the "Independent Group".