Leader and Deputy Leader step down at district council following disrupted meeting

The Leader of Maldon District Council, Cllr Wendy Stamp, and the Deputy Leader, Cllr Stephen Nunn, have resigned from their positions amid a flurry of media interest this week.

The resignations come after Maldon became the subject of national attention when police were called to a council meeting last Thursday (4 November) over the behaviour of independent councillor, Cllr Chrisy Morris.

In a video of the meeting, Cllr Morris was seen repeatedly speaking over the chair by saying "point of order".

Cllr Morris was challenging the council's consideration of a report that found him to have breached the local authority's code of conduct.

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The council resolved to ban him from all committees for 18 months.

An altercation between Cllr Stamp’s husband and Cllr Morris is alleged to have also taken place, according to the BBC.

Announcing her decision, Cllr Wendy Stamp said: "I have and will always put the work of the council, democratic process and staff safety first. By stepping down, I am taking the right steps to ensure what this council and its staff have been subjected to in recent weeks stops.

"I am giving my fellow councillors the opportunity to come together and stand up to what has been a hurtful attack on the council, and I urge the media to look a little closer at the individuals who are causing this disruption.”

The council's Head of Paid Service, Richard Holmes, said both councillors would continue representing their wards as elected members of the council.

Mr Holmes added: "These resignations come at a difficult time for Maldon District Council, however, as a local authority, we cannot state strongly enough that the media attention the council has received in recent weeks has led to abuse against staff and councillors. Staff are receiving daily episodes of abuse and threats of violence.

"We are putting out a message of zero tolerance and want to put a stop to unnecessary hateful behaviour, fuelled by unsubstantiated allegations. Our staff are simply doing their job and are key workers. They have every right to feel safe in the workplace and in their community."

Outgoing Deputy Leader, Cllr Stephen Nunn, said: "It is with sadness that I feel the need to resign as Deputy Leader in such circumstances. I'm doing this in support of Cllr Wendy Stamp's decision to resign but also, I feel this is the right thing to do to enable the council to move forward in a positive way and to ensure democratic business can be heard and carried out without further disruption or delay."

Adam Carey

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