Over the last week, the SKWAWKBOX has reported on the outrage – across a broad spectrum of local Labour members and officials – at the serious flaws in the selection of council candidates for the recent Enfield local elections, which were revealed in an investigators’ report.
That process was overseen – and by her own admission influenced – by the then-Secretary of Labour’s ‘local campaign forum’ (LCF), Nesil Caliskan. Ms Caliskan was then elected as council leader by councillors including those selected because of the deeply-flawed process – ousting an incumbent leader who was popular across the local party.
Nesil Caliskan – née Cazimoglu – is the older sister of a candidate on the right-wing Labour First/Progress slate for this summer’s elections to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Her mother, who works for right-wing Labour MP and LFI chair Joan Ryan, is also a councillor in the same ward.
Now local and union sources have told the SKWAWKBOX that the start of Ms Caliskan’s controversial term in office has been marked by an aide telling at least two ‘Labour group secretaries’ – a third is currently on maternity leave – that their jobs were to go, as Ms Caliskan wants to employ a political assistant. The secretaries serve the Labour group of councillors but are employed by the council.
According to sources, the information came as a complete shock to the employees and outraged their unions, who said the staff were called in without warning to receive the news, with none of the usual protocols or consultations. The employees were initially told that the council was looking at ‘redeployment’ options, but when they pressed to find out whether redundancy was a likely outcome, the answer was yes.
The backlash locally has been sufficiently intense that there has apparently been ‘considerable backtracking’ on the issue, so the secretaries’ positions may soon be safe. However, the repercussions continue.
One local Labour activist told the SKWAWKBOX that there was outrage across the party that this should be the ‘first move‘ of the new leader’s term and described recent revelations of the issues around the selection of councillors and their impact on the vote to replace the deposed council leader as ‘like a nuclear bomb going off in some circles‘.
There is already talk on the ground in Enfield about whether Nesil Caliskan’s leadership can survive, given the broad-based backlash against her oversight of the selections and the manner of her election as leader.
Labour’s NEC must surely soon move to intervene.
Nesil Caliskan and Enfield Council’s Press Office were contacted for comment but have not responded.
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