Mayor in Jackie Weaver Handforth meeting faces no confidence vote

Who has the authority NOW? Councillors try to oust head of Handforth parish councillor made famous by Jackie Weaver for allowing ‘bullying’

  • Millions of people watched clips of Handforth Parish Council’s Zoom meeting 
  • Members lost their cool, traded insults and ultimately got booted off the call 
  • Cheshire East Council mayor Barry Burkhill is now facing a vote of no-confidence

A mayor who took part in a now infamous parish council meeting is facing a vote of no-confidence amid claims he brought the authority into ‘disrepute’.

Millions of people watched clips of Handforth Parish Council’s Zoom meeting as it descended into a chaotic trail of disorder, power grabs and insults.

It turned host Jackie Weaver into an overnight sensation, earning her plaudits for the way she handled her fellow parishioners. 

But now Cheshire East Council mayor Barry Burkhill is facing a vote of no-confidence amid claims he ‘made no attempt to intervene as participants were bullied’.

Cheshire East Council mayor Barry Burkhill is facing a vote of no-confidence, Right, the star of the show Jackie Weaver 

‘You don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Barry Burkhill (pictured) said in the video

‘You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver, no authority John Smith at all,’ Brian Tolver (pictured) said in the clip

Mr Burkhill, who is an independent councillor for Handforth and attended the meeting, is facing a vote of no-confidence on February 17.

The motion, proposed by Cheshire East Conservative councillor Liz Wardlaw, claims Mr Burkhill ‘made no attempt to intervene as it became clear participants in that meeting were being bullied’.

It said: ‘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.’

Ms Wardlaw’s motion calls for Mr Burkhill’s term of office as mayor to ‘cease immediately’.

It added: ‘The work that has been done at Cheshire East over the last three years with the cooperation and commitment of all members and officers to transform its culture and reputation from one of bullying and intimidation has been undermined by this sad episode.

‘The inaction of the mayor could be seen as a demonstration of his complicity in the bullying that occurred, and this cannot be ignored if the integrity of the brighter futures programme is to be maintained.’

Mr Burkhill denied he had brought the local authority into disrepute.

The meeting on December 10 was attended by several other councillors (clockwise from top left: Susan Moore, Barry Burkill who is also thrown out, John Smith who takes over as chairman, and Cynthia Samson)

‘Read the standing orders! READ THEM AND UNDERSTAND THEM!’ Aled Brewerton (left) said during the meeting

He said: ‘I was doing my best to uphold the rules and traditions of the law which govern our lives and the institutions which we rely upon to ensure good governance at all levels of society.

‘If we lose the ability to run even our small parish councils according to standing orders and the law, then we lose that protection which they bring to our citizens and begin the slide towards dictatorship.’

Clips of the parish council’s planning and environment committee from December 10 emerged on social media on Thursday and quickly gained traction online.

Host Jackie Weaver became an overnight internet sensation for her calm handling of the situation, which saw chairman Brian Tolver kicked off the call twice, including in the council’s extraordinary meeting held later in the evening.

Following Mr Tolver’s eviction, vice-chairman Aled Brewerton, joined by an older unnamed gentleman, proceeded to yell at Ms Weaver to ‘read the standing orders’.

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

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