Anston: Council meeting ends early in chaotic and angry scenes

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The latest meeting at Anston Parish Council ended in chaotic and angry scenes after residents independent members challenged Labour members, who were also Rotherham Council members, over their involvement and knowledge of events surrounding the child abuse scandal that has engulfed the town.

At the meeting, resident Christine Sadler called on Coun Jo Burton to step down, saying she was vice-chairman of the children’s safeguard panel from 2007-08 and a panel member in 2009 and therefore must have been aware of allegations being made.

The same panel was headed up by Shaun Wright, who this week resigned as a Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire.

Mrs Sadler also challenged Coun Judy Dalton over her role as an advisor to the panel.

And she accused Coun Dominic Beck of trying to prevent questions being asked and instead trying to gloss over the issue and move the meeting on.

“There were also so-called members of the public there who I think were just brought in by Labour to disrupt thing and stop us asking questions,” said Mrs Sadler.

“They got very angry as things went on and eventually, we all had to stop.”

Replying to the claims, Coun Burton said: “I was upset I did not have the chance to speak more because there were people there who wanted to hear what we had to say.”

“But Mrs Sadler and others were very busy shouting out all the time which was unacceptable.”

“We have apologised for the council’s involvement in the awful events that have come to light.

“But we were all as shocked as anyone when the numbers of 1,400 cases of sexual abuse were first raised.”

“Mrs Sadler also seemed determined to wilfully misunderstand what I meant when I said that if other towns learned from what happened in Rotherham, that would be positive.”

“Sexual abuse is not just confined to Rotherham, so if we can learn from the mistakes here, and take that forward, that will be a better thing for us all.”