Police called in EU rumpus at council meeting

TEMPERS flared — and the police were called — when a Hucknall councillor confronted a man who was filming an Ashfield District Council meeting without permission.

Controversy erupted when two questions regarding the council’s flying of the European Union (EU) flag were directed by a member of the public to Coun Chris Baron (Lab).

Tony Ellis, who stood for Parliament in the Ashfield seat for the English Democrats in 2010, asked if the council accepted that the EU had “no lawful jurisdiction over the Ashfield community and its representative council?”

In response, Coun Baron, lead member for customer and corporate services, said the UK was bound by EU legislation and policies.

He said there may even be implementation of EU laws at a district-council level.

The second question asked why the flag flew outside the council offices “when you have all been made aware that this is unlawful in accordance with your oaths of office and Parliamentary legislation?”’

Coun Baron explained that the flag could be flown without planning permission but it was noticed that a member of the public was filming without permission. The man was approached by a council officer and asked to delete the footage.

He refused and as the row threatened to boil over, with Coun Baron confronting the man with the camera, the meeting was adjourned and the police called.

However, when police officers arrived, the person who had been filming, and who had not been identified, had left.

The police say no offences were committed and no further action was taken.

When the meeting resumed, Mr Ellis told the council that as an ‘executor of the trust’, he was instructing the council to remove the flag — a demand that was met with a round of applause from the public gallery.

After the meeting, the footage was posted on the You Tube video-sharing website.

The council explained that most meetings were open to the public but photography was allowed within the council chamber only on request and subject to prior arrangement.