One of the stars of a parish council meeting which went viral has said he has no regrets after the chaotic Zoom call became an internet sensation.
Clips of the Handforth Parish Council meeting – which showed councillors trading insults and ultimately getting booted off the call – were uploaded to Twitter on Thursday afternoon and had been viewed more than two million times by Friday morning.
The meeting of the parish council in Cheshire on December 10 marked the second time chair Brian Tolver had been removed, having previously been evicted from the earlier 7pm Planning and Environment Committee.
Mr Tolver told the PA news agency he did not regret how he had acted in the meeting.
He said Jackie Weaver — who hosted the Zoom call and removed him from it — was just present as a member of the public and “had no status to speak other than when invited”.
“If you look at the first meeting you will see I have reason to be angry,” he said.
In the first meeting, Mr Tolver is seen claiming the agenda was “concealed” and, following a series of interjections and claims the meeting was not legitimate, he was eventually removed.
The 7.30pm extraordinary meeting began with an unseen councillor mumbling “f*** off” under their breath.
Mr Tolver refused to recognise the legitimacy of both meetings.
He told meeting clerk Ms Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, to “stop talking”, and added: “You have no authority here.”
In response, Ms Weaver removed Mr Tolver from the Zoom call and placed him in a virtual waiting room.
i’ve never missed in person meetings more than i did watching this parish council meeting descend into chaos pic.twitter.com/I75zi1fIK5
— janine (@janinemas0n) February 4, 2021
Mr Tolver said: “I cannot think of any other council meeting anywhere, that was taken over by an unqualified member of the public like this.
“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.
“In the second meeting, I was trying to explain the correct procedure to this lady and say that her actions were way out of order, but she seems to have believed that she could do whatever she chose.”
PA has attempted to contact Ms Weaver for a response.
Following Mr Tolver’s eviction, vice-chair 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 Barry Burkill were removed.
There was then confusion over Mr Tolver’s Zoom username, in which he had labelled himself the “clerk”.
Am busily writing Jackie Weaver into the next Thursday Murder Club novel.
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) February 4, 2021
Ms Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself ‘clerk’ and notified everybody of the case.
“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself ‘clerk’. Please refer to me as ‘Britney Spears’ from now on.”
Those remaining voted to not allow the three men back into the meeting, with councillor Cynthia Samson likening one to a “laughing hyena”.
Mr Tolver, who previously labelled the clips shared on YouTube as “corrupt copies”, said they were “hooky videos” and added: “Whether they are completely genuine or not, I don’t know.”