At a meeting on March 10th, 2022, Cheshire East Council voted to release six reports into the conduct of councillors on Handforth Parish Council (now Handforth Town Council). These were published on the 29th on the council's website. Report 4 - Multiple Complaints against Cllr Tolver 27 May 2021 contains the following summary of Jackie Weaver's actions, and explores whether she did, indeed, have the authority. The relevant parts of the executive summary are paragraphs 1.3.1 to 1.3.11, with the most relevant paragraphs reproduced below:
1.3.7 When interviewed, JW [Jackie Weaver] stated that she was satisfied that the meetings had been called properly, and was concerned that BT [Councillor Brian Tolver],
[REDACTED] were intending to pass a motion to close the meetings down.
JW states that she wanted to ensure that the behaviour of BT,
[REDACTED] and [REDACTED] did not stop the meetings proceeding, which
is why she felt it necessary to mute and remove BT, [REDACTED] and
[REDACTED] following their disruptive behaviour.
1.3.8 It is clear that BT attended at the meetings with the intention of stopping them from proceeding. Had BT been able to put a motion to
the meetings that they were unlawful and could not go ahead, as he was
attempting to do at the time JW muted BT's microphone, it would have
been likely that this motion would have been passed.
1.3.9 JW (as well as [REDACTED], and [REDACTED]) was aware of that possibility, and knew that if such a motion was raised, it would
likely result in the meetings coming to an end. It was of course this
circumstance that JW was seeking to avoid. Her purpose in attending
was to facilitate the meetings going ahead, and it is understandable
why she acted as she did.
1.3.10 That said, we find that JW was not acting in an official capacity at the meetings. She did not have authority to manage the
attendance at those meetings (which she fully accepts). It is
therefore also understandable why her actions, including interjecting
and talking over BT, [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], would likely cause
those Councillors to become agitated, as this was a direct challenge
to their intended action to bring the meetings to an end. Nonetheless,
the position of Councillor carries with it a requirement to uphold and
maintain high standards of conduct, and to comply with the Code at all
times when acting in that capacity.
The full report goes on, in paragraph 7.18:
We find that JW was not acting in an official capacity at the meetings. She did not have authority to manage the attendance at those meetings, and more specifically did not have authority to mute Councillors’ microphones, or remove them from the meetings. Indeed when interviewed JW fully accepted that this was the case. She states that she was in attendance at the meetings to assist and facilitate them taking place. She knew that she did not have any “authority”. She stated that she believed that her actions were necessary given the behaviour of BT, [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], and in order to allow the meetings (that she believed to have been lawfully called) to proceed.
So no, Jackie Weaver did not have any legal authority to take the actions she did. However, the report does state that they can "understand why Jackie Weaver acted as she did, despite her action being without any formal footing in terms of appropriate process and procedure".