A war of words has erupted after police cleared the public gallery at a Keighley Town Council meeting.

Town mayor Councillor Sally Walker had asked members of the public to stop filming the meeting, warning it was against council rules.

Despite being asked to leave, 11 people insisted on staying, until at least nine police officers and police and community support officers arrived.

After the meeting Coun Walker said: “It’s important to understand the monthly council meeting is not an open public meeting but a formal business meeting of the town council, to which the public have admission.”

But Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “I look forward to another peaceful protest at the next Keighley Town Council meeting and at all future meetings until the council decides to wake up – and grow up.”

People in the gallery last Thursday included Graham Forsyth and Elizabeth Mitchell, who previously told the Keighley News they would be filming.

They argued Government rules applied to all public council meetings and that these rules allowed them to film. They cited support for their cause voiced by Government minister Eric Pickles.

Following the police involvement, Mr Pickles said Keighley Town Council had “lost the plot”.

Mrs Mitchell said: “We weren’t being disruptive or causing a disturbance and most of the people there were over 60. It was absolutely disgraceful and sad for democracy.”

Police confirmed members of the public at the meeting had not behaved in a threatening manner.

At the start of the meeting, Coun Walker warned that audio recordings and video was prohibited without advance permission.

She added: “There are members of the public who have requested to film. The council will look at this at the next policy and governance committee meeting, which will make recommendations to the full council.”

After repeatedly asking people to stop filming she asked them to leave but no-one moved. The meeting was adjourned and police called. Coun Walker this week said Mr Pickles’s department had only issued guidance for principal authorities, which recommends people wishing to film should approach staff to ask what facilities could be provided.

She added: “Elected members are unsalaried amateurs, untrained in media presentation, whose words and actions through the selective editing of film could be represented inaccurately.

“This is of great concern to members, some of whom absented themselves from the meeting on this account.”