‘Hang your heads in shame’: Walkout at Arlesey Town Council meeting after chairman re-elected

Conservatives have held their control of North Herts District Council

Conservatives have held their control of North Herts District Council - Credit: Archant

Residents walked out of a town council meeting last week after councillors re-elected their existing chairman.

Cllr Mick Holloway ran against existing chairman Cllr Nick Daniels for the role of chairman at a well attended Arlesey Town Council annual meeting.

Cllr Judy Rencontre revealed that the ballot was tied and as chairman of the election she had the casting vote.

She said: “Under section 12A of the standing orders I have the deciding vote.

“I will stick to the original vote that I made in the nomination papers and vote for Nick Daniels to be chair of this council.”

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Many residents had come hoping to see a new chairman appointed and when former vice-chairman Cllr Rencontre read out the result they reacted angrily and left the meeting.

One woman shouted: “Shocking, shocking. Hang your heads in shame.”

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At this point order was called. Cllr David West said: “If members of the public interrupt this meeting I will ask you (Cllr Rencontre) to call them to order.

“If they are called to order three times I will ask you to clear the chamber. This is a meeting of the council and not a meeting of the general public.”

On returning to his post of chairman Cllr Daniels said: “I would like to thank all the councillors who supported me throughout the vote. I do appreciate with the vote the way that it was this is a very split council.

“I just hope that over the coming year and with the proper elections in May 2015 that we can work together more successfully than in the previous 12 months.”

The election of the vice-chairman followed.

Cllr West and Cllr Duncan Wang were both proposed for the role.

After another ballot Cllr Daniels revealed that the vote was spilt again and as the chairman of the committee he would have the deciding vote.

He said: “The result is a draw which means it falls down to myself to have the casting vote. On this occasion for his long service to the council and to the community I would like to elect Councillor David West.”

Again this result was met with outrage from some members of the public. There were shouts of “this is a joke” and another section of the audience left the meeting.

Both councillors will serve in their respective roles until elections at next year’s annual meeting in May 2015.

The annual meeting was followed by a Town Council Meeting and a Planning Meeting.

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