Is this why the Sandown Town Council meeting was stopped?

A Sandown Town Council meeting “descended into a whole load of shouting” after questions were asked of the mayor’s integrity. 

The police were called to the meeting on Wednesday (September 5) at 7pm in the Broadway Centre after the majority of councillors left the room.

The meeting was then cancelled by Mayor Jacquie Mereweather and Clerk Tina Bailey.

The meeting lasted minutes after ex-councillor Eric Lawson was shut down by councillors who claimed his questions didn’t relate to the agenda.

Police and residents at the council meeting – Jane Cresdee Midmore

Mr Lawson said: “I was pointing out that I am very uncomfortable that we have a mayor who has been called out on her integrity.

“It just descended into a whole load of shouting, they were telling me I couldn’t speak because it wasn’t on the agenda.

“Then Councillor Debbie Andre stood up and read out the standing order that said I could speak about something that pertains to the business of the council – at that point they just walked out.”

Cllr Debbie Andre said after the meeting: “When you put yourself up for election as a councillor, you will, if elected, hold a public office and as such are open to public scrutiny.

“Behaviour such as this by those in authority undermines the democratic process, but more importantly undermines the relationship with our residents.

“The public deserve a better quality of local governance from an effective, professional and unified town council.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “We were called at 7.27pm. Called to reports of people refusing to leave the building. The next entry in the log was at 7.41pm, saying group leaving the building. No offences, people left upon request.”

Mayor Mereweather said: “In accordance with my powers as chairman of the meeting I did close the meeting as those attending would not be quiet when asked to do so and the business on the agenda could not be discussed. This was a town council meeting to which the public are invited to attend. It was not a public meeting.

“There was only one item on the agenda which has been deferred to another meeting.”

Sandown Town Council have been contacted for a response.