Excl: Enfield Southgate CLP motion of no confidence in controversial council leader Caliskan

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Enfield Southgate station at night

The SKWAWKBOX has carried a series of exclusives on the Enfield council selections scandal, where Council leader Nesil Caliskan has been at the centre of an investigation by the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) into the ‘irregularities’ that occurred during the selection process to elect Labour candidates, including the deselection of all black candidates.

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Nesil Caliskan

The beneficiaries of these and other ‘irregularities’ in a process overseen by Ms Caliskan then promptly elected her as the new council leader, ousting an incumbent popular across the local party. Ms Caliskan and her family are on the right of the party, close to Enfield North MP Joan Ryan who earlier this month lost a vote of no confidence after a membership rebellion. Caliskan’s sister, Eda Cazimoglu, was an unsuccessful candidate on the Labour First/Progress ‘slate’ in the recent NEC elections.

The complaints and and calls for an investigation into the numerous issues issues and Ms Caliskan’s role in them have come from a broad coalition of all wings of the party – including half of the Enfield Council cabinet and an array of other councillors. This is not a ‘left v right’ issue.

Now Enfield Southgate CLP (constituency Labour party) – which had already passed a motion condemning Caliskan’s behaviour – has tabled a motion of no confidence in the council leader, following an emergency meeting of the CLP’s executive.

The motion lays out the grounds for the proposed motion:

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IN COUNCIL LEADER NESIL CALISKAN

Moved by Enfield Southgate CLP Executive Committee

Proposer: Lynda Brennan (Political Education Officer). Seconder: Jackie Kelly (Diversity Officer)

Southgate CLP condemns the actions of the Council leader in removing Cllr. Yasemin Brett from the Enfield Council Cabinet on spurious grounds and considers this part of an ongoing culture of bullying.

Southgate CLP notes:

i) That Cllr. Brett is the designated ‘Animal and Conservation Champion’ of Enfield and that she has dedicated herself to this cause throughout her over 20 years as a councillor.

ii) That it is well-known that animal rights and conservation issues are matters of conscience for Cllr. Brett.

iii) That Cllr. Brett had already raised concerns about conservation issues and when the item on the controversial inclusion of the Pinkham Way site in the North London Waste Plan came up in Cabinet, Cllr. Brett declared a Non-Pecuniary Interest (NPI) and left the meeting as she is entitled to do as a Cabinet member and as other Cabinet members have done in the past on issues which affect residents of their wards.

iv) That Council leader, Nesil Caliskan, instructed the Chief Monitoring Officer to remove Cllr. Brett’s position on the Cabinet from all Council websites, effectively removing Cllr. Brett from the Cabinet without first informing her, and without consultation with the Cabinet, the Labour Group, or the CLPs. In accordance with procedure, the Council’s legal officer then informed Cllr Brett and all councillors, both Labour and Tory of the Council Leader’s decision, thereby putting the matter into the public domain.

Southgate CLP is appalled that the Council leader chose the moment of the Bush Hill Park ward by-election to autocratically remove Cllr. Brett from the Cabinet, and we hold her responsible for any damage this latest public scandal may have done to the Party’s reputation and electoral prospects.

Southgate CLP further notes:

i) That the Administration has an absolute majority on Cabinet and an overwhelming majority on Full Council, and therefore a single abstention by a Labour councillor could not have affected the outcome of any vote, nor could it compromise the integrity of Cabinet or Council decisions.

ii) That previous Council leaders have allowed councillors to absent themselves from proceedings when similar situations have arisen.

iii) That Cllr. Brett has previously complained to the CLP Chair about bullying.

iv) That Cllr. Brett has previously been subject to a vexatious disciplinary process for having spoken as a ward councillor on mental health issues at the Palmers Green Community Fair.

Southgate CLP is concerned that the culture of bullying is part of a wider and more disturbing pattern. On 24 June 2018, 15 senior Councillors and Party officials, including half of Enfield’s Cabinet members, wrote to the Party’s General Secretary calling for an NEC investigation into the Enfield councillor selection process.

The 15 signatories came from all wings of the Party and were from diverse backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities, including Turkish, Greek, Cypriot, Jewish, Muslim, Quaker, Irish, Black, Bengali, Somali, and Sri Lankan. Cllr. Yasemin Brett was one of the signatories. The letter concluded by advising the General Secretary that “three of the signatories, all women, will be writing to you separately regarding incidents of intimidation.”

In light of the fact that:

i) The CLP all members meeting in May 2018 passed a motion (with just 2 votes against) calling for an NEC investigation into the “irregularities” in the councillor selection process overseen by Nesil Caliskan. The CLP noted “that the then Local Campaign Forum Secretary (Nesil Caliskan) has repeatedly refused to answer a list of 25 questions pertaining to the interview, shortlisting and selection process, which were drawn up by the LCF and put to her in writing” and

ii) The council leadership coup took place behind the backs of the members, and in breach of Labour Group standing orders, the CLPs were not consulted on the election of leader or Cabinet positions and

iii) The CLP all members meeting in June 2018 passed a motion (with only 4 votes against) of solidarity with the Labour Group staff who had been arbitrarily removed from their posts. The CLP called on the Council leader “to provide a full and frank explanation of her role in this matter” and expressed extreme concern over her “refusal to answer questions.”

Motion

Southgate CLP:

1. Has no confidence in Nesil Caliskan and calls for her immediate resignation as Council leader.
2. Calls for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Cllr. Yasemin Brett to the Cabinet.
3. Is in full solidarity with all Councillors and members who themselves become victims of bullying when offering their support to the victims

(Emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX)

The popularity of ousted cabinet memberYasemin Brett was underlined in a post to the Enfield Voices Facebook group:

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The motion will be debated and voted on in seven days time. Councillor Caliskan has previously told the SKWAWKBOX she does not wish to be contacted and dismissed all condemnations of her behaviour as ‘smears’.

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8 responses to “Excl: Enfield Southgate CLP motion of no confidence in controversial council leader Caliskan

  1. Seems like another hotbed of identity politics. Isn’t it time Labour junked diversity officers and the like?

    • I think you are being too kind lundiel.I think it is just straight forward corruption.Were you banned from Guardian comments or put in the naughty corner?

      • Banned. 3 other commenters who didn’t like my lexit comments started attacking me in coordination and anything I said was removed. I never did find out why I was banned but they did me a favour. What was once a talking shop from across the political spectrum became a very illiberal place inhabited by fanatics.

  2. SB ,, Any update on what the NEC are doing re this level of complaints ?
    Following things so far Ican’t see how she can possibly escape any kind of investigation and hopefully expulsion .

    • Yes,I thought we were getting a more fair and efficient complaints system.Or do the right wing fixers still have influence?

  3. My ward councillors (Joan Ryan MP) canvassed for Jeremy Corbyn promising all kinds of things but do nothing but contradict and lie when challenged have their own fb residents page that has nothing to do with any official council business, only deals with fly tipping and if you challenge or contradict them say you’re trolling them it was obvious to me that they’re Ryanites and have no interest in voters concerns it’s like they’re treading water waiting for their agenda to come to fruition – I don’t even know if they’re allowed to have unofficial social media groups and I certainly can’t trust them to deal with any issues I have. Ryan had a motion of no confidence by our CLP but as far as I can see nothing has changed

    • Agree with the treading water observation. There seems to be a lot of councillors in the same boat, pinning their hopes on a people’s vote leading to everyone turning their backs on Corbyn, electing a new leader (Starmer) and then it’ll be back to business as usual.

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