A Lewisham councillor has asked residents to remember they are ordinary citizens, in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s chaotic full council meeting.

Cllr Jacq Paschoud, who chaired the meeting on November 28, told the public gallery, who had been heckling during public question time,“I am standing up, and when I stand up, I understand everybody sits down and shuts up.”

She said the thirty-minute public question time limit had to be adhered to for fairness and consistency across full council meetings, with her comment an attempt to draw the meeting to order.

“People acquainted with meetings will know the chair standing up is a signal things need to come to order,” she explained.

“I could have said ‘sit down and be quiet,’ [but] I didn’t use the word ‘you’.

“I know feelings were very high and I was not trying to insult them personally.”

The comment came about an hour into the council meeting during the public question time.

The meeting was then derailed with yells and jeers drowning out the council’s PA system, leading to the ejection of all members of the public and the police being called.

Various local groups including People Before Profit, Catford Against Social Cleansing and Save Tidemill, Save Reginald, were protesting outside the council building ahead of the meeting.

Tensions continued to build when residents were left unsatisfied with councillor responses to questions relating to chief executive Ian Thomas, the Tidemill development, and proposals to rebuild Lewisham Library, with residents making outbursts during councillor answers.

Cllr Paschoud said she was trying to move onto the next part of the meeting and has respect for everybody’s point of view.

“There is nobody there who I wouldn’t sit down with and have a cup of tea,” she said.

Cllr Paschoud appealed for residents to remember councillors are people’s parents, grandparents and friends.

“We are ordinary people elected to be representatives. We use services. We want people to be heard, but when people are shouting, you appeal for quiet,”  she explained.

“If people hadn’t heckled we would’ve got through some more questions. People get a supplementary question, they cannot make a speech.”

She said the council had been put in a difficult position with budget cuts and councillors wanted to do more for people than they could.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said no complaints had been made about Cllr Paschoud’s conduct.

Lewisham Council’s code of conduct says members should “treat all people with respect” and “promote and support high standards of conduct”.