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‘Like a scene from the Godfather’ - Bullying allegations emerge in town council row

PUBLISHED: 08:50 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:50 19 February 2020

People volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting, which had barred the public and press. Photo: Bethany Wales

People volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting, which had barred the public and press. Photo: Bethany Wales

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A row which saw police called to a town council meeting when members of the public refused to leave has been described as ‘like a scene from The Godfather’ by a workers’ union.

Protestors at Attleborough Town Council meeting, in which public were denied access to discussion. Photo: SubmittedProtestors at Attleborough Town Council meeting, in which public were denied access to discussion. Photo: Submitted

An extraordinary meeting of Attleborough Town Council descended into chaos on Monday night when more than 50 people protested at proposals to remove two elected councillors, Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer - from positions within the council.

It has now emerged the proposal was made by other members of the town council after staff at the council made claims of bullying against the pair. The full details have not been revealed, but Ms Taylor told this newspaper she "categorically denied" swearing at, or threatening any member of staff.

Today, Miles Hubbard, a representative for Unite union, said: "Last night's show of the public bursting in on the council meeting in the form of a mob and shouting down the mayor and councillors isn't a democracy, its gangsterism.

MORE: 'Our town is a laughing stock' - Town hits out at council following 'shambles' of a meeting

Police at an Attleborough Town Council meeting. Photo: Bethany WalesPolice at an Attleborough Town Council meeting. Photo: Bethany Wales

"Behind its Miss Marple image, picture-postcard Attleborough is more like a scene from The Godfather."

Mr Hubbard said it would hold an industrial ballot, with the option for strike action, if no action was taken to "stop attacks" on its members. He was referring to claims members of the public who support Ms Taylor and Mr Tyrer have been targeting council staff on social media.

Mr Tyrer declined to comment, as he said he did not wish to prejudice or prejudge proceedings, but Ms Taylor said: "I am not responsible or accountable for what any member of the public says on social media. I'm absolutely mortified that the union rep has shared confidential information about this, which the town council had fought venomously and embarrassingly to keep out of the public domain at last night's meeting."

Almost 100 people have signed an online petition created by Rhodri Oliver, county councillor for Attleborough ward, and district councillor Tristan Ashby, calling for the town council to be dissolved.

People volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting. Photo: Bethany WalesPeople volunteered to be arrested at an Attleborough Town Council meeting. Photo: Bethany Wales

They claim that the town council "no longer functions in a way that serves the people of Attleborough" and that the "discord and mismanagement" can only be solved by all 15 councillors resigning, and standing for re-election.

They add that of the current 15 councillors, only six were elected by the public, with the remainder co-opted.

We contacted Attleborough Town Council but were told there was nobody available to comment.

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