Meeting abandoned again over fresh outburst from Maldon councillor

A council meeting was abandoned for the second time in a row last night after a fresh outburst from a councillor before security were called.

Maldon District Council attempted to hold a full council meeting last night (December 16) after the previous meeting last month was abandoned and the police called due to similar disorderly conduct.

In a short-lived rant, councillor Chrisy Morris (Independent, Heybridge West) made allegations of cover-ups while attempting to make a declaration, leading the chairman to eventually call for security.

The district council has previously said claims of corruption lack evidence and are “completely unsubstantiated”, according to a statement released after the abandoned November meeting.

Chairman Mark Heard (Independent Group, Maldon West) once again closed the meeting early, citing disorderly conduct by Cllr Morris.

Cllr Morris shouted over the chairman as he attempted to move onto further items of business, saying that he had been “badly let down by this council”.

Councillors voted that “the member may not be heard” with regard to Cllr Morris and then for him to be removed from the meeting, but he refused leave.

Cllr Heard called for security just 15 minutes into the meeting.

Cllr Morris could be heard saying: “They can’t get involved in the democratic system.”

After an adjournment, Cllr Heard said: “I am now going to close this meeting because of Cllr Morris’ refusal to obey a resolution of council and his conduct has deliberately prevented the transaction of business.”

Items due to be discussed at the meeting included those unable to be debated last month, such as setting the district’s council tax base.

But there were also new items, such as ratifying the new leader designate, Councillor Richard Siddall (Independent Group, Great Totham).

Cllr Siddall was appointed after the resignation of his predecessor Councillor Wendy Stamp (Independent Group, Burnham-on-Crouch North), who stepped down following reports of threats made against councillors and council staff in November.

The resignation also followed the emergence of a video on social media of Cllr Stamp’s husband in an altercation with Cllr Morris.

The findings of an investigation into Cllr Morris’ behaviour, which concluded he had made “serious breaches of the code of conduct”, was one of the items due to be discussed at the previous meeting.

Despite the outburst, the council voted to agree the findings.

Cllr Morris disputes the findings of the investigation.

According to the council’s website, the next full council meeting will be on February 24.

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter