Garstang councillor's Jackie Weaver tribute T-shirt is a winner at council meeting

Smiling was the order of the day when Coun Alan Pearson donned a T-shirt with a topical message for the February meeting of Garstang Town Council

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 2:58 pm

Garstang Town Council takes local politics very seriously.

But the closing minutes of this week's full town council meeting gave cause for a smile.

At the end of the online meeting, when debate had ranged from road safety to the town's conservation area, Coun Alan Pearson stood up to show off his T-shirt specially purchased for the event.

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Coun Alan Pearson pictured holding the Orders T-shirt (photo: Dan Martino)

It carried the words "Read The Standing Orders. Read Them and Understand Them".

It meant the meeting closed with a smile with other councillors enjoying the reference to another now notorious parish council meeting whose proceedings went viral earlier this month.

The clip showed how a meeting of Handforth Parish Council was disrupted by the behaviour of its councillors. Jackie Weaver, Chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, had stepped in to help run a meeting of Handforth council in Cheshire when a dispute erupted about who had the right to run and clerk the meeting.

Chairman Coun Brian Tolver refused to recognise the legitimacy of the meeting saying "You have no authority here Jackie Weaver."

He was placed in a virtual waiting room , leaving Vice Chairman Coun Aled Brewerton losing his cool and declaring vociferously he should be in charge shouting "Read the Standing Orders - read them and understand them!"

The video recording swiftly became an internet sensation.

Afterwards Jackie, told BBC Radio Woman's Hour: "99.9 per cent of council meetings are just not like that...most of the time I'm encouraging people to try to get involved in parish councils, to raise their profile etc. I guess the plus side of this is that it's certainly done that."

Jackie, who had kept her calm throughout, said she had had "really lovely positive support from people.. but acknowledged :"There's an element of bulllying and bad behaviour in local councils and a lot of us, including central Government, are working very hard to try and do something about that."

Coun Pearson said a couple of other councillors had planned to wear the same T-shirts - but his, purchased off the internet, was the only one which arrived in time for the full council meeting.

He said: "It was just a little internal thing. We had a couple of people who were going to do it."

He said similarly for their Christmas meeting some councilors wore Santa hats as a nod to the festive season.

Both he said were a chance to momentarily lighten up the meetings where members consider local issues very seriously.

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