Last week, the SKWAWKBOX reported the no-confidence motion unanimously agreed by the executive of Enfield Southgate CLP (constituency Labour party) in right-wing council leader Nesil Caliskan for a vote at the next full meeting of the CLP.
That meeting took place last night – and Caliskan avoided a no-confidence vote in an acrimonious meeting that members report was ‘packed with a huge number of Caliskan allies we never normally see at a meeting’.
In spite of the clear efforts put into rallying right-wing support, however, Caliskan did not escape unscathed.
An amendment to replace the no-confidence section of the motion with one referring to the NEC investigation into the anti-democratic conduct of candidate selections was accepted by a margin of about 20 votes – but the motion’s introduction, which identified a “wider and more disturbing pattern” that included the unfair removal of a popular council cabinet member, remained unchanged.
No attempt was made to amend the section calling for the reinstatement of Cllr Yasemin Brett, or the section declaring “full solidarity” with other victims of bullying.
The amended motion, which was opposed by Ms Caliskan’s allies, was passed by 63 votes to 58.
1. Is very concerned at the peremptory suspension of Cllr. Brett from the Enfield Cabinet and calls for her immediate reinstatement.
2. Calls for the clarification of the rules by which Councillors can withdraw from Cabinet discussions on grounds of non pecuniary interest.
3. Is in full solidarity with all Councillors and members who themselves become victims of bullying when offering support to the victims.
4. Notes that the NEC is investigating potential malpractice in Council selection procedures and until this is concluded, calls for internal disagreements to be resolved through ongoing dialogue rather than mutual public recrimination, which can only harm Labour’s chances.
Despite losing the vote on the amended motion, Ms Caliskan and her allies are, unsurprisingly, casting it as a victory. However, the preamble of the motion still includes the following, referring to objections by a broad coalition of members and councillors:
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.”
The removed councillor, Yasemin Brett, has now been reinstated.
Ms Caliskan has previously indicated that she does not wish to be contacted by the SKWAWKBOX. However, a press release now in circulation attempts to minimise the significance of the meeting and the motion and to point elsewhere:
I welcome the fact Enfield Southgate Constituency Labour members did not carry the motion of no confidence. Now this is a time to move forward. This is the toughest of times for our communities because of Conservative government cuts. I will continue to be 100% focused as Council Leader, working with all councillors, to address the real issues facing local people. These include tackling poverty and deprivation in our borough, the rising levels of violent crime, especially youth violence, the lack of decent and affordable homes, chronic underfunding for our health services and budget cuts to our schools. These are issues that are having a real negative impact on the lives of Enfield residents.
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