Jackie Weaver: Host sworn at during viral council meeting admits she didn't know who was in charge

·3-min read

The woman at the centre of a foul-mouthed council meeting that went viral has admitted she did not know who should have been in charge.

Jackie Weaver was heckled and harassed during the virtual session, with the chairman of Handforth Parish Council in Cheshire, Brian Tolver, telling her she had "no authority here".

Vice-chairman Aled Brewerton yelled at her to "read the standing orders", while another councillor was heard mumbling f*** off" under their breath.

Ms Weaver kicked Mr Tolver off the call and placed him in a virtual waiting room. Two other councillors, including Mr Brewerton, were also removed.

"Of that meeting, I'm not absolutely sure who was in charge," Ms Weaver told the BBC, adding that "99.99% - that's an actual fact I'm sure - of council meetings are just not like that".

"They are often less exciting than we might hope they were," she said.

She also admitted feeling proud of herself for keeping her cool.

"When you are being bullied, if you can see the other person has lost it, there is a sense of 'I did okay there'," she said.

But she said she could see the funny side, saying, "there is amusement in the way somebody has actually just lost it".

Ms Weaver said she hosted the meeting as part of her role with the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, which provides "advice, guidance and support to town and parish councils across Cheshire".

Mr Tolver claimed on Friday that people's "democratic rights" had been attacked, and said the meeting had been "taken over by an unqualified member of the public".

He added: "Removing half the councillors from the meeting denied half of the voters of the village from being represented - it was an appalling attack on their democratic rights.

"This made tensions rise, and that is why voices were raised in the second meeting."

Ms Weaver said she had had "nothing but really lovely positive support from people", adding that "there is an element of bullying and bad behaviour in local councils".

Asked about the best way to stay calm in virtual meetings, she said: "Never wear your pyjamas."

A clip of the 10 December meeting was put on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

There has been much amused reaction online, and some of the exchanges have been set to the Emmerdale theme tune.

Actor Stephen McGann, from Call The Midwife tweeted: "I went up for the part of Jackie Weaver, but they told me I didn't have the authority."

While the Guido Fawkes blog site commented: "Trump would still be president if he had replaced Rudy Giuliani with Jackie Weaver."

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: "We support our local town and parish councils in matters relating to councillor code of conduct and offer support as appropriate.

"We are aware of concerns raised relating to Handforth Parish Council. Any complaints regarding member conduct are dealt with through the member code of conduct process.

"All matters relating to complaints to the monitoring officer about a parish council or elected member, remain confidential until all processes have been followed. The outcome of any formal investigation is published on the council's website."