Cllr Harry Smith – Point of order Mr. Mayor, I do believe that you asked for the gallery cleared of all people except for the lady with the disability. I do believe there are people creeping back in.
Mayor: No, I haven’t…
Cllr Smith continues talking over the Mayor:
I think everyone should be cleared except for the lady.
Mayor: Security asked my permission and I gave it.
Cllr Smith: Well, Mr. Mayor, I’ve got to say that the people who are there are political party members and there’s such thing as (at this point he gets drowned out by the Deputy Mayor Cllr Moira McLaughlin, Labour councillors, Lib Dem councillors, Tory councillors and others)
Cllr Smith: Mr. Mayor, I think you’re allowing some people to come back but not others. There was others who were very quiet up there. They’ve made no arrests of anybody but cleared with the noisy ones.
Mayor: I note your comments.
Cllr Stuart Kelly: From the opposition, you can see that there are a number of other people that have been allowed back in.
Mayor: There are a number of people up there listening to the debate very quietly.
Cllr Harry Smith: I’ll will just reiterate that everybody was asked to be cleared from the public gallery. That’s all.
Mayor: Yes and I do,
Cllr Harry Smith (interrupting the Mayor again): And some quiet ones, had to go and no doubt they don’t know now. So they’ve missed out on the opportunity of coming back and listening to the debate and I just think it’s unfair that some are and some aren’t.
Mayor: OK, Cllr Mountney.
Just for the record, the Labour Party (and its union sympathisers) planned before the meeting started to disrupt the meeting seemingly to get the Budget delayed to the reserve budget date a week later. When one noisy heckler was thrown out, another started. The Lib Dem Mayor decided to adjourn the meeting. At this point he asked for the public gallery to be cleared.
The adjournment lasted longer than originally stated (whether the rumour that a councillor had gone to get a pizza was true or not I don’t know). However the journalists (who had their laptop set up tweeting) and the petitioner were allowed to stay in the Council Chamber. The Council has a legal duty to provide for journalists at the meeting and nothing had (yet) been decided in response to the petition.
Anybody who wanted to hear the rest of the meeting was ushered into Committee Room 1. A few people refused to leave the public gallery.
In Committee Room 1 Cllr. Jeff Green couldn’t be heard giving his speech as the volume on the speakers was too low to be heard and a member of the public started smoking. However all the building staff (which had been supplemented by Community Patrol and police) except one were either in the public gallery supervising the one or two people left in the public gallery.
Clearly things could’ve been managed better and the fact people were delayed from joining the council meeting until about twenty minutes after it started didn’t help the mood of the public. After most had left, those remaining in Committee Room 1 were invited back to the public gallery to hear the rest of the meeting.
Cllr Harry Smith (Labour’s candidate) unfairly accuses the Mayor Alan Jennings, because he is in the same political party as myself and my wife of showing us preferential treatment compared to Labour Party members. This was not the case as I will demonstrate in a further blog post. There were others in the public gallery. It is not the first time he has interrupted a meeting of the Council to comment on my presence and that of my wife.
P.S. For any of those people who think you can’t record public meetings please read this Wirral Globe article first.