There were disgraceful scenes in the Assembly Room at Macclesfield Town Hall last Thursday at a meeting of Cheshire East Council.
When Labour Councillor Steve Carter attempted to make a point he was barracked, yelled-at and slow handclapped by a group of Conservative Councillors attempting to stop him making his point heard.
What was most disturbing is that those leading the barracking included some members of the Cabinet and senior members of the Tory group. The majority of Tory councillors looked to be clearly embarrassed by such behaviour, which one would be more likely to see on the football terraces rather than in a formal public Council Meeting.
Indeed. Later in the meeting former Mayor of Cheshire East, Cllr Hilda Gaddum stated that this was perhaps Cheshire East Council’s ‘.. darkest hour’.
A resolute Cllr Steve Carter, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Hurdsfield said later that:
‘I was making the point that the council would not be lurching from crisis to crisis if we had a constitution which allowed for transparency, scrutiny and accountability. The Conservatives did not like this, they believe they have a divine right to rule and will not listen to anyone else’s view.
“I’ve been in local politics for twenty years and this indeed was the worst behaviour I have witnessed. It is part of the bullying culture, led from the front on Cheshire East Council. I refuse to be bullied. I stood up and told them what everyone outside is saying. They will never stop me doing this.”
Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach East and Heath, said,
‘The Conservatives really should know better than to indulge in this sort of behaviour. In February 2015, the Conservatives literally shouted me down when I tried to speak to second a motion of no confidence in the then Leader, Michael Jones; the Conservatives behaved like a baying mob that day to prevent me speaking. In 2015 Conservative Councillors voted that they had full confidence in Michael Jones and refused to listen to any criticism of him!
In 2017 many of those same Conservative Councillors were lining up to expel Michael Jones from the Conservative Group. The Conservatives are always ready to kick someone when they’re down, but are less willing to listen to comments that are critical of those currently in power.’