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Councillor ejected from meeting for tweeting

Gareth Fairhurst after being ejected from the Town Hall

Gareth Fairhurst after being ejected from the Town Hall

A town hall meeting descended into chaos as a councillor was thrown out for tweeting.

Standish independent, Coun Gareth Fairhurst, was escorted out of the chamber by two police officers following the rowdy meeting in Wigan.

A handful of fellow opposition councillors staged a walkout in support.

Members had been earlier warned by Mayor Billy Rotherham that the use of social media was banned.

But after 40 minutes, the often outspoken Coun Fairhurst was ordered to leave after his live tweets had been spotted by council officers.

Tweeting in council meetings is also banned by St Helens Council, however, a number of high-profile councillors have tweeted from the council chamber.

Mayor Rotherham said: “I have got grandchildren who don’t behave like you do. I move that you are expelled from the meeting.”

Stunned councillors were then informed that the meeting would not continue until Coun Fairhurst left the chamber.

During the delay, Police Community Support Officers were called in but Coun Fairhurst - who sought legal advice from the council’s legal experts - remained in his seat.

After 20 minutes had passed, chief executive Donna Hall informed the chamber that he had “refused to leave unless police officers are called.”

Coun Fairhurst eventually left the chamber once police officers arrived and was accompanied down the Town Hall steps by his father and fellow councillor George Fairhurst.

Minutes later, councillors Gary Wilkes, James Grundy and Jamie Hodgkinson followed in protest.

The meeting continued with leader Lord Peter Smith later commenting: “This has been the most atrocious meeting I have seen.”

 

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