The SKWAWKBOX has covered at length the battle in the London borough of Enfield between a broad coalition of Labour members and officials from all wings of the party and a group they claim has taken over the council by anti-democratic means.
Those means included huge departures from proper procedure in the selection of council candidates overseen by the Labour officer who is now council leader – and the ‘coup’ resulted in the deselection of every sitting black councillor, as well as in the selection and ultimately election of councillors who failed to pass selection interviews.
Members across the borough, as well as the council’s deputy leader and around half of its Cabinet, called on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to investigate and intervene – and aspects of the story broken exclusively by the SKWAWKBOX were picked up by national media last weekend, but with a heavy focus on the ethnicity of those involved in the ‘coup’.
Now a group of councillors from that community have written to Labour’s general secretary and NEC to add their voices to the calls for an urgent investigation. The contents of their letter were posted to the ‘Enfield Voices’ Facebook group at noon yesterday:
Dear Jennie Formby and all NEC Members,
With deep disappointment and great upset we find ourselves writing to you in response to the contemporary events unfolding in Enfield. As long standing committed Labour members and people who hold the values of the Labour Party deep in their hearts we are shocked that the Turkish, Kurdish, Alevi and Turkish Cypriot community has been targeted continuously by the media for supposed corruption within the Party.
As Enfield Councillors we are committed to the residents of Enfield, fighting to represent them inside and outside the council. Enfield is our home, and nothing makes us prouder to represent where we have found peace and hospitality. Thus, the only aim for us elected Councillors, is to fulfil our duty to the best of our ability and give Enfield residents the representation they deserve. However, we are being prevented by doing so with ongoing attacks on a specific community and the Party, that we ultimately find racist.
It breaks our heart to see that there are unceasing attacks on a specific community, using their ethnicity and defaming them by accusing them to have ulterior motives. The community has become a target of all attacks in the Enfield borough with none of these accusations holding any weight or evidence to it. We are extremely horrified by the recent article in the Sunday Times that has targeted many dedicated Labour Party members whom have campaigned relentlessly for many years for the promotion of the Party and its values.
We fear that as a direct result of this article and others that have been published online over the course of this past month, the Turkish, Kurdish, Alevi and Turkish Cypriot community is going to be a target of increasing hate crime that we have observed is on the rise in this country. It has become a personal threat to the security of Councillors families as their pictures have also been published in the Sunday Times without consent. This is extremely worrying when right-wing extremists have only recently targeted Labour politicians like Jo Cox and we fear that a similar outcome will happen to those that have been accused of a conspiracy.
These accusations have no ground and we do not want any further defamation of this specific community or our Party. For that reason, we are calling on you to urgently investigate the selection process to bring out the truth in whatever has happened and to end the negative campaign against our Party. We see this as the only way to protect our values of anti-racism, democracy and transparency that we hold dear to ourselves.
Other Councillors have shown their support for this letter and we will add on to the names later on.
Cllr Elif Erbil
Cllr Sabri Ozaydin
Cllr Tolga Aramaz
Cllr Sinan Boztas
Cllr Susan Erbil
Cllr Ergin Erbil
Cllr Guney Dogan
Cllr Guner Aydin
Cllr Ergun Eren
Cllr Saray Karakus
Cllr Huseyin Isik Akpinar
(Emphasis added by the SKWAWKBOX)
Evidence has also emerged that Labour’s LCF (local campaign forum) – the body that oversees selections and campaigns in the borough – was warned well before the fact about the damage that was being done to relations with black communities and the further damage if the deeply-flawed process was not exposed and overturned.
An email sent by a candidate from one of the communities laid out the issues clearly:
The email was ignored and Ms Kelly withdrew.
Labour’s NEC is meeting today, including the ‘Organisational Subcommittee’ that will hear a preliminary report from investigators.
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