Did Jackie Weaver have the legal authority to remove the chairman of the parish council during a meeting?
During a meeting of the Handforth parish council on December the 10th seen here, the chairman of the council was removed from a Zoom meeting by the Zoom meeting host. The recording of this meeting has gone viral in the UK.
This event happened prior to the meeting officially starting, where conversation took place regarding the capacity and title of the meeting co-ordinator, Jackie Weaver. Jackie Weaver said:
I am here offering support to Handforth parish council in the conduct of this meeting this evening
It was not clear that her capacity was as clerk or proper officer of the meeting.
Several minutes on, disruption ensued and Jackie Weaver removed the chairman of the council from the meeting. Yet seconds before this happened, the chair stated:
It is only the chair who can remove people from a meeting.
Mrs. Weaver argues she acted so because the Chairman was disrupting the meeting and questioning her authority, others at the meeting objected to this. Furthermore, Mrs. Weaver proposed electing a new chairman after ejecting the official chairman. However, this was opposed by others stating the position automatically fell on the Vice chairman.
My question is, did Jackie Weaver have the legal authority to remove the chairman of the meeting? If she didn't, does it even matter as the meeting officially hadn't even started yet?