'I'd have got my hair done': Jackie Weaver - star of viral parish council meeting - on becoming an unlikely internet hit

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman

Jackie Weaver, the star of a "chaotic" parish council Zoom meeting that has become a viral hit, has told ITV News she "would have got her hair done" if she had known she was going to become such an internet sensation.

Ms Weaver was the clerk of a Handforth Parish Council meeting which descended into chaos — with councillors trading insults and ultimately getting booted off the Zoom call.

Ms Weaver said she had no inkling clips from the Zoom meeting would become such a hit with Twitter users.

One clip posted by Twitter user Janine has been viewed 3.4million times and has more than 14,000 retweets and 87,000 likes.

Ms Weaver was for many the breakout star of the meeting, seemingly showing steely determination when confronted by several angry men.

But she told ITV News she was "not as confident as she looked".

"I'm glad I was sitting not standing, my knees were shaking. No, I didn't feel as confident as I looked but as I say I was just determined that they were going to be able to hold that meeting," she said.

She said she had got a lot of messages of support from people.

"I guess part of that, is people see on the video an elderly woman being besieged by three men, and that was very uncomfortable.

"But I think it is such a shame that it overshadows so much of what goes on that's positive in Handforth. Anyone who knows the area knows the parish council does some sterling work there, but that is not what is going to come out on social media."

The meeting on December 10 was the second time chair Brian Tolver had been removed, having previously been evicted from the earlier 7pm Planning and Environment Committee.

He claims Ms Weaver has been "undemocratic", but Ms Weaver responded: "I can't imagine what could be less democratic than not calling a meeting as clerk, not calling a meeting as chairman and trying to frustrate a meeting called by two councillors.

"That's undemocratic."

The 7.30pm extraordinary meeting began with an unseen councillor mumbling “f*** off” under their breath.

Mr Tolver refused to recognise the legitimacy of both meetings.

He told meeting clerk Jackie Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, to “stop talking” and “you have no authority here”.

In response, Jackie Weaver removed Mr Tolver from the Zoom call and placed him in a virtual waiting room.

Following Mr Tolver’s eviction, vice-chair Aled Brewerton, joined by an older unnamed gentleman, proceeded to yell at Ms Weaver to “read the standing orders”.

When fellow councillor Susan Moore calls for civility, the meeting erupted into semi-hysterical laughter and two further councillors, Mr Brewerton and Barry Burkill were removed.

There was then confusion over Mr Tolver’s Zoom username, in which he had labelled himself the “clerk”.

Ms Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself ‘clerk’ and notified everybody of the case.

“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”

Those remaining voted to not allow the three men back into the meeting, with Cllr Cynthia Samson likening one to a “laughing hyena”.

Despite being booted out of the meeting, Mr Tolver said he did not regret how he had acted in the meeting.

He said Jackie Weaver — who hosted the Zoom call and removed him from it — was just present as a member of the public and “had no status to speak other than when invited”.

“If you look at the first meeting you will see I have reason to be angry,” he said.

In the first meeting, Mr Tolver is seen claiming the agenda was “concealed” and, following a series of interjections and claims the meeting was not legitimate, he was eventually removed.

Mr Tolver said: “I cannot think of any other council meeting anywhere, that was taken over by an unqualified member of the public like this.

“Removing half the councillors from the meeting, denied half of the voters of the village from being represented — it was an appalling attack on their democratic rights.

“This made tensions rise, and that is why voices were raised in the second meeting.

“In the second meeting, I was trying to explain the correct procedure to this lady and say that her actions were way out of order, but she seems to have believed that she could do whatever she chose.”

A parody Jackie Weaver Twitter account has been set up by Friday, but the woman herself hopes that there is also a more serious fallout from the Zoom meeting.

"I hope people will flock to parish council meetings - not on the basis of them providing free entertainment but on the basis of, actually some real stuff happens there.

"If nothing else, what's happened over the last 24 hours has really shown that parish councils are there. It hasn't shown them in their best light I get that, but we have got elections in May.

"The government seems absolutely committed to holding those elections. Get involved. If you don't think what you saw was right, get in there and change it. That's what I would like to see."

Richard Osman tweeted: “Am busily writing Jackie Weaver into the next Thursday Murder Club novel.”

Presenter Steph McGovern said: “But what happens next???”

Memes, spoof film trailers and ideas for TV series based on the meeting flooded social media.