A COMMUNITY council meeting was adjourned just minutes after it started when a suspended member came into the venue.

Haddington and District Community Council met in person earlier this month.

However, as members were introducing themselves to newly elected ward councillor George McGuire, the meeting was halted when David Barrett, who was elected to the group in October, came into the Bridge Centre venue.

Chris McEwan, chairman of the community council, which also covers Athelstaneford, reminded Mr Barrett that he was suspended from the group and could not attend meetings.

Mr McEwan said that if his colleague resigned from his role as a community councillor then he could attend the meeting as a member of the public.

However, Mr Barrett refused to do so and the decision was taken to end the meeting.

'Removed from his role'

A spokesperson for the community council told the Courier that Mr Barrett had been suspended in February for nine meetings for unspecified breaches of the community council’s code of conduct.

Referring to the online meeting where he was suspended, the spokesperson said: “The meeting was chaired and observed by independent representatives, including two chairpersons from other community councils within East Lothian. The meeting concluded with community councillor David Barrett being removed from his role within the community council as planning liaison officer.

“Community councillor David Barrett also had a vote of no confidence passed in relation to his ability to properly represent the whole community as a community councillor.

“Mr David Barrett was furthermore suspended from Haddington and District Community Council for nine meetings due to his breaches of the community council’s code of conduct. Members also agreed that they would continually review this suspension, based on any future behaviour.”

'Kangaroo court'

Mr Barrett, who unsuccessfully stood as an independent candidate for the Haddington and Lammermuir ward in this month’s East Lothian Council elections, was unhappy with the manner in which he was suspended.

He described the special meeting earlier this year as “little more than a kangaroo court”.

He said: “The whole proceeding was little more than a kangaroo court with a smokescreen and fog of falsehoods issued in a 14-item appendix, mainly incomprehensible, and badly presented.

“It was like a 7pm Tuesday dinner invite to the Colosseum, to be sent into the arena without any armour, and face up to some 15 young, fully equipped opponents, eager for bloodletting, all rushing towards you at once, in Zoom-framed boxes.”