Handforth Parish Council changes name to move on from ‘toxic’ past | Local government

A council that became known after a video call dispute between its members went viral has decided to change its name in an attempt to move on from its “toxic” past, the chairman has said.

At Handforth Parish Council meeting in December, held and recorded via Zoom, several male members of the deputy, Jackie Weaver, rounded up a dispute over procedural rules for such meetings.

The recording garnered more than 6 million views after being published online, creating a well-known name for Weaver, who was warned during the meeting by the outraged then-president, Brian Tolver, that she had “no authority here” before being rejected. the call.

Since the meeting, two city council members have resigned, and Tolver has resigned as chairman, but remains councilor, while Weaver has launched podcasts, hosted live events and on November 27 turned on Handforth’s Christmas lights.

'Read the standing orders!': Chaotic ward council Zoom meeting goes viral - video
‘Read the standing orders!’: Chaotic ward council Zoom meeting goes viral – video

Weaver told the Guardian that changing the council’s name was a “brilliant decision” as it marked a new start for a body that is “free from the challenging elements that were inside”.

The new chairman, John Smith, said the Cheshire authority had been renamed Handforth City Council because they wanted to “move away from the toxic side of Handforth”.

He said: “We have a new name and three new councilors, and together with the other remaining councilors we are committed to improving Handforth. We are also moving away from the viral, toxic Handforth ward council as portrayed on YouTube and leaving it behind.”

He said the move was also due to a feeling among councilors that Handforth residents would identify more with a secular-sounding name as opposed to one with the religious connotations of “parishes”.

He said: “Many residents have understandably believed that Handforth Parish Council is somehow attached to the church. For those of a certain age, the vicar from Dibley comes to mind.”

Weaver, who is not a member of the Handforth Parish Council but the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, told the Guardian: “I think it’s a brilliant decision by the council – it marks the start of a ‘new’ council free of the challenging elements. , who were within and able and ready to focus on the terrific work such local councils can do in their neighborhoods.

Handforth clearly has the authority to rename itself a ‘city’, and it is certainly large enough in terms of area and responsibility to bear that name. However, we should recognize that the President, John Smith, can now refer to himself as Mayor Smith if he so desires. ”

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