Labour group AGM last night turned into farce after candidates withdrew in protest
The annual general meeting (AGM) of Enfield council’s Labour group had been re-arranged after the right-wing council leader failed to obey a binding instruction from Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to stand for re-election.
But when it took place last night, it collapsed into farce after protests by ‘anti-corruption’ candidates across the Labour political spectrum withdrew their nominations for key positions in protest at the ‘unconstitutional’ process that had sidelined members and the Enfield ‘local campaign forum’ (LCF).
An email sent out ahead of the meeting by the LCF chair explained some of the issues:
In spite of the LCF vote, Labour’s London region ruled that the meeting had to proceed, because the full council AGM was due to take place tonight. But councillors from the left and right of the party who had nominated themselves or been nominated as an ‘anti-corruption’ group withdrew – not only in protest at the ruling but in outrage at the alleged conduct of a right-wing faction around the council leader.
Complaints made to the Labour Party, whose investigation is still ongoing, include anti-democratic selection processes as well as darker behaviour including bullying, intimidation, discrimination and even threats of violence.
Those who withdrew to defend member democracy include ‘moderates’ such as Daniel Anderson, who was standing for election as deputy leader of the council and who has been heavily critical of council leader Nesil Caliskan and her allies – and even the former council leader Doug Taylor, a former member of the right-wing Progress pressure group.
Enfield’s council cabinet now includes a number of councillors – in senior positions – who failed their interviews as potential candidates and who were put through for selection anyway: the core of the ‘irregularities’ under investigation by the Labour Party.
Those ‘irregularities’ were overseen by Nesil Caliskan, then LCF secretary and now leader of Enfield Council – voted into position by the same councillors who had failed their interviews.
One senior local Labour figure told the SKWAWKBOX:
It’s civil war here now. People are genuinely scared and the intimidation has begun again. We’ve got people from across the spectrum outraged and there are numerous threats to quit the party.
Labour has got to step in.
Nesil Caliskan has previously said that she does not wish to be contacted by the SKWAWKBOX for comment.
Labour intervened in Sandwell – the West Midlands heartland of Labour First. Enfield has been in the grip of the Labour hard right for far too long – and the extent of the problems there is underlined by the fact that those outraged by it and opposing it come from the left, right and middle of the party equally.
A situation in which councillors are in physical fear cannot be allowed to continue – nor can one in which the council’s leadership and cabinet have been put in place ‘unconstitutionally’.
Labour’s NEC must suspend the whole Labour structure in Enfield and build it again from scratch, if that’s what it takes.
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