A full meeting of Thurrock Council was forcibly suspended amid chaotic scenes last night - the second in a row to have to do so.

Tensions were running high from the start as the public gallery was packed with residents protesting the introduction of the controversial "grass tax".

Council bosses had been forced to suspend the new grounds maintenance charge to council tenants after pressure mounted from opposition parties.

Both parties looked to find blame for how the grounds maintenance charge had been so inconsistently levied to different properties.

The decision to introduce the charge will now go back to scrutiny.

Senior councillor Mark Coxshall was the first to cause outrage by claiming the Labour administration did "f**k all" during their time in power.

The council chambers erupted in chaos as fellow members and residents in the public gallery called it disgraceful and demanded an apology.

Mr Coxshall apologised immediately and the meeting was allowed to continue.

Later in the meeting, councillor Ben Maney was also reprimanded after he directed comments at the public gallery.

Mayor Tunde Ojetola was forced to suspend the meeting due to the disruption his comments caused.

The Mayor also apologised on behalf of his fellow councillors during the meeting:

Mr Maney, Council Leader Rob Gledhill and Mayor Ojetola then had a private discussion before the mayor attempted to apologise on Mr Maney's behalf - much to the chamber's disappointment.

UKIP Thurrock Group Leader, Councillor Graham Snell said: "To compare members of the public to horses shows the utter contempt that the Tory Administration have for Thurrock residents.

"And to refuse to apologise is outrageous. And they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves."

Leader of the Labour group, Councillor Oliver Gerrish, called the meeting a "total shambles".

He said: “I feel very bad for residents that had to sit through this mess. It was possibly the worst, most embarrassing meeting I have ever seen in Thurrock.

"At times I was ashamed to even be in the same room because of the poor behaviour of Tory councillors in particular. No one should behave in that way, but councillors should have a special appreciation of their role, as community leaders, to uphold the dignity of council.

“We’ve heard foul language thrown across the chamber, the meeting constantly disrupted and even suspended for a period of time. There are a number of Tory councillors that should be ashamed of themselves."

Labour councillor Jane Pothecary took to twitter to describe the behaviour as "disgraceful".

In July this year, the last full meeting of Thurrock council was also suspended due to unruly behaviour by the councillors and members of the public.

Security were called to escort campaigners out of the chambers and the disturbance continued as they left with councillors struggling to maintain composure in the face of the controversy.

Mayor Ojetola left the meeting momentarily and UKIP Councillor Kevin Wheeler got in a heated exchange directly with George Abbott, a Lower Thames Crossing Campaigner.

You can watch a video of the July chaos here.

Thurrock Council have been contacted for comment.

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