Confetti gun fired in Portsmouth Guildhall

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PROTESTERS fired confetti at this afternoon’s Portsmouth full council debate as tensions over proposed cuts to a domestic abuse service and a councillor’s attempts to smear a constituent.

Campaigners chanted ‘shame on you’ at under-fire Tory Scott Harris and council leader Donna Jones before using a metal device to shoot confetti into the chamber.

Protesters on the steps of the Guildhall to oppose council cuts to domestic abuse services

Protesters on the steps of the Guildhall to oppose council cuts to domestic abuse services

A banner was also put over the public gallery which said: ‘Donna cuts, we bleed’.

It came after Jon Woods, of Portsmouth Against Cuts Together, criticised Cllr Harris’ ‘despicable’ actions - and urged him to publicly apologise to the victims in his ‘smear’ email.

Cllr Harris has referred himself for investigation after a private email exposed his attempts to smear Old Portsmouth resident Sameen Farouk.

Addressing the chamber, Mr Woods said: ‘Instead of listening to and considering representation on DV, Cllr Harris thought he should attempt to smear some of the people making those representations.

‘It is particularly despicable to target Shonagh Dillon and the charity Aurora New Dawn. Instead of being smeared, Shonagh deserves to be congratulated for tirelessly campaigning to save DV in Portsmouth.

‘I ask that Cllr Harris take the opportunity today here in the council chamber, to publicly apologise to Shonagh and the other people he has targeted.’

The chaos caused the meeting to be adjourned so things could calm down.

A Hampshire police spokesman said one person has been detained for letting off a pyrotechnic inside Guildhall, but no further details have yet been released.

Campaigners against domestic abuse had earlier staged a demonstration outside the Guildhall against cuts in funding to support groups.

HMS Queen Elizabeth returning to Portsmouth. Picture: Mike Parry

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