Councillor ejected during stormy debate
PUBLISHED: 15:51 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 11 August 2010
A COUNCILLOR was thrown out of the chamber during a stormy Assembly meeting at Barking Town Hall. Cllr Lawrence Rustem was escorted out last Wednesday after he refused to answer a question and repeatedly clashed with chairman Fred Barns. During general qu
A COUNCILLOR was thrown out of the chamber during a stormy Assembly meeting at Barking Town Hall.
Cllr Lawrence Rustem was escorted out last Wednesday after he refused to answer a question and repeatedly clashed with chairman Fred Barns.
During general questions Cllr Shaun Carroll asked Cllr Rustem to apologise for a comment he made at the previous assembly meeting.
On October 8 Cllr Rustem said that teaching sex education to children under-11 was "virtually paedophilia". Cllr Carroll said he took offence because he is a teacher.
Reading his pre-written response Cllr Rustem, opposition member for Valence ward, ignored the question and instead started to lambast the Labour government about its economic policies.
"If we are talking about apologies, shall we have Labour's apologies for wrecking the economy?" he began.
Cllr Barns, who was standing in for usual Chairman Rocky Gill, told him to address the question.
Cllr Rustem said: "I am answering the question how I choose to answer it."
He was allowed to go on but continued his tirade about the government.
Cllr Barns again called him to order and said he must stick to the original question.
But Cllr Rustem would not and more heated exchanges followed between him and the chairman.
Eventually Cllr Barns said: "I am adjourning this debate while you are removed from this Assembly."
After taking advice on the correct procedure, Cllr Barns called a vote and all the Labour members voted to remove Cllr Rustem.
Cllr Rustem continued to shout at the chairman and had to be placated by his group leader Cllr Robert Bailey.
Two of the Town Hall staff were called into the chamber and Cllr Rustem gathered his papers and was escorted out.
Cllr Barns said: "I did ask for order and I wasn't getting it. I'm terribly upset that I had to take that action but it was the right decision.
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