COUNCILLORS almost found themselves facing a red card after their 'disgraceful' behaviour saw a meeting drag on for on nearly five hours.

Sunderland City Council was forced to abandon its meeting of all councillors last night (Wednesday, November 18) as proceedings were about to enter their fifth hour.

With several items of business still to be concluded the decision was taken to call it a night, with the hope that cooler heads might prevail in the morning following an evening when tempers simmered over several issues.

Members were warned not to repeat their previous ‘disgraceful’ behaviour.

“I think the behaviour of this group tonight has been disgraceful, particularly as we [have been] live streaming for the public,” city mayor Cllr David Snowdon told the meeting, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

“I expect better behaviour [when the meeting restarts].

“There is supposed to be a decorum we are following and I expect to see that.”

The Northern Echo:

Council leader Graeme Miller proposed the meeting be halted and restarted today (Thursday, November 19) after a council motion on child poverty was finally approved following a debate lasting about an hour and a half.

And it still then took three separate votes for the virtual chamber to agree a restart time of 11am, after alternative suggestions of 9am and 5pm intended to accommodate working councillors were rejected.

At one point Castle ward councillor Stephen Foster even suggested a red and yellow card system be introduced to allow the mayor, who formally chairs meetings of the full council, to eject councillors deemed disruptive.

The meeting eventually saw Sunderland’s FA Cup winning side of 1973, including squad players, granted the freedom of the city.

Cllr Miller told the council that while news of a potential coronavirus vaccine was positive, it should not be considered a ‘silver bullet’ for the pandemic.

It was revealed speed bumps removed from Church Road are due to be reinstalled during February half term next year.

And deputy leader, Cllr Paul Stewart, told the meeting more than 200 payments had been authorised to people told to self isolate under a government scheme. A further 500 claims have been rejected and about 400 are being processed.