A motion to seek legal "redress" against former town councillor Richard Hadley was soundly defeated by a vote at Ledbury Town Council.

Over thirty members of the public gathered in the Market House last night, and speeches made by councillors against the motion were met with loud cheers, as was the outcome of the vote.

What should have been the last meeting of Ledbury Town Council, on April 16, was abandoned after Mr Hadley gave a "resignation speech" which accused the mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes and "a junior clerical officer" of circulating a malicious email against him.

Mr Hadley also said a payment to a consultant had been "unauthorised" and he said the behaviour of some longstanding councillors had been "arrogant and perverse".

Cllr Barnes suspended last week's meeting after Mr Hadley refused to leave.

There was a new agenda item for the reconvened meeting, on Thursday April 23, as proposed by Cllr Clive Jupp.

It read: "Following the abandonment of the meeting held on April 16, we propose that the town council should seek full redress under the appropriate legislation relating to misconduct by a member of the public during the council meeting."

Cllr Jupp, a former mayor, who is not seeking re-election on May 7, said the disruption of the meeting on April 16 had been "unprecedented".

He said of the motion: "My reason for doing this was seeking to protect future councillors".

He added: "The meeting was suspended, and we had no control over it."

Cllr Jupp said that to do nothing would be to "open the floodgates" to other meetings possibly being disrupted by others.

But Cllr Terry Widdows, himself a former mayor, refused to vote and joined the members of the public for the actual vote, to loud cheers from the public.

Cllr Liz Harvey said she was "sad" to see the resolution and Cllr Keith Francis said: "I don't think we should be spending residents' money on this sort of action", meaning legal action.

Cllr Jayne Roberts agreed, saying: "We have no right to use taxpayers' money for that purpose."

Cllr Annette Crowe called it "a ridiculous motion".

She said: "I was appalled it could even be considered. Last week's event has the whole town talking, and not in a good way."

Cllr Crowe said the incident had "made the town a laughing stock".

Cllr Andrew Warmington warned that the motion could make the council look "petty, vindictive and undemocratic".

"You cannot slander a town council," he said.

There were eight votes against the motion; three in favour and two abstentions.

Cllr Widdows did not vote at all, remaining in the public seats for the vote.