A teenage Labour activist was arrested on Monday, January 14th after refusing to leave a Lydney Town Council meeting until councillors answered questions about proposals for a new B&M store.
Police were called after sixth former, Zac Arnold, refused to leave the chamber where the public can ask questions and then streamed the resulting conversation and his arrest on Facebook Live.
Zac said: “I attended the full council meeting to ask some serious and difficult questions about their activities. They attempted to silence me throughout. During me asking the third question, the Mayor, Bob Berryman, ordered me to stop or he would suspend the meeting. I continued to ask my question.”
According to Zac, Mayor Berryman suspended the meeting and the Councillors walked out as he continued to finish reading the question.
A member of the council called the police; Zac said: “The police then threatened my arrest if I did not move and I explained the situation calmly. I would not leave until the council or its representatives answered my perfectly legitimate questions. I was then arrested supposedly for ‘breach of the peace.’”
Zac hoped to asked questions regarding the Town Council’s budget for 2019/2020 and how Councillors proposed to ‘plug the gap left by the Conservative-led authority in Youth Services’.
At a recent Ross Town Council meeting, one resident asked if they were allowed to ask questions during the meeting. According to the standing orders of Ross Town Council, questions have to be given in writing ahead of the meeting and the public have time designated for public participation that should not exceed 15 minutes.
A question doesn’t require a response at the meeting, and the chairman may direct that a written or oral response be given.
A spokesperson for Lydney Town Council said: “We are not prepared to make a comment.”