Police were on standby at a Labour Party candidate selection meeting – to deter any potential trouble-makers from misbehaving.
Officers attended a Middlesbrough Labour Party selection process meeting for Middlesbrough’s Beechwood ward at The Sutton Centre, in Collin Avenue, last night.
However, there was no disruption – prompting questions to be asked as to why police were asked to attend.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman today said that the Labour Party would not be invoiced for the officers’ time.
Councillor Len Junier, who represents North Ormesby and Brambles Farm ward and who resigned from the Labour Party last month, was not at the meeting.
But he said: “It has been assumed that there was going to be a problem at the selection process last night.
“It seems a waste of valuable resources.
“I think it is a disgrace that the Labour group in Middlesbrough can do this.”
Cllr Junier, who was one of five councillors recently deselected by the party and who will stand as an independent, added: “From what I heard there were no issues at the meeting – it was over and done with in less than 30 minutes.
“It was not a controversial meeting.”
As reported last month, police were called to attend a Middlesbrough Council meeting which had descended into chaos as a result of two members of the public began filming inside the town hall.
There were also said to have been problems at an earlier annual general meeting for the Clairville ward.
A Middlesbrough Labour Party spokesman confirmed the police had been asked in advance to attend last night’s meeting.
“The police were there for reassurance because at an earlier meeting (the AGM) there had been damage to the property and intimidation to party members by people not eligible to be at the meeting,” he said.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman had earlier confirmed: “Two police officers attended the meeting yesterday evening.
“They were there to deter any possible disruption to proceedings and did not participate in any political activity or debate.
“The meeting passed off smoothly and without incident.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 07 June 2014
A council meeting descended into chaos last night when two members of the public began filming inside Middlesbrough Town Hall.
The meeting was halted just minutes after the new chairman was agreed as Cllr Bob Kerr.
Made aware of the filming taking place, he asked the men to cease filming.
When the men refused to put down the cameras and stop filming, two police officers entered the council chamber to speak to the men.
The chairman then suspended the meeting and left the chamber.
After several minutes he returned to ask everyone to evacuate the building and congregate in the quadrangle outside.
After a 30 minute delay, councillors, the media and members of the public – except the men with cameras who were prevented from re-entering the building by the police – returned and the meeting resumed.
Beechwood ward Cllr Joan McTigue said: “It is a public meeting and councillors themselves tweet away to people outside – what is being said and by whom etc. Therefore I see no problem with it being filmed and put into the public domain.”
Last June Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles published a guide which states councils should allow the public to film, blog and tweet council meetings.
But the chairman said: “According to 25.2 of the Constitution no photography or filming can take place. The chair has the authority according to the Constitution of asking and if necessary forcing anyone doing so to leave.”
When the meeting resumed, North Ormesby and Brambles Farm ward councillor Len Junier proposed an amendment regarding allowances that every councillor in the authority should take a 5% cut for the next two years.
Mayor Ray Mallon accused him of speaking to the press saying it was “narrow-minded”.
He said: “If I had my way I would give them a bit of a pay rise. A 5% cut would be minimal, it would not be a pin prick in relation to the savings.”
The majority voted against the amendment.
Middlesbrough Conservative leader Chris Hobson submitted a proposal to alter the new senior management structure which she said would save the local authority £363,000. Mr Mallon said he would meet with her to discuss it further. Six voted for it, 34 against.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 15 May 2014