Storm in Enfield continues – and effects of ‘irregular’ selection process seen at highest levels of council. When challenged, council leader admitted panel interview results had been altered
A series of exclusives by the SKWAWKBOX revealed the ‘irregularities‘ in the selection process for local election candidates – overseen by then-local campaigns secretary Nesil Caliskan – that ultimately led to right-winger Ms Caliskan becoming leader of Enfield council in London.
The councillors who elected her included a significant number who had only become council candidates via the irregular process she ran.
The skewed selection process also led, shockingly, to the deselection of all the borough’s black councillors and triggered a series of protests and calls for investigation across the Labour political spectrum – including half the council’s Cabinet – and the resignation of all of Enfield Labour group’s female officers except Ms Caliskan, amid accusations of bullying, intimidation and physical threats.
The national party was forced to step in, effectively putting Enfield Labour group into special measures.
But the storm has continued – and even intensified. The Labour group’s annual general meeting – already postponed once after the group leadership ignored instructions included in the special measures – last night was tempestuous, in spite of the presence of Labour governance personnel and the London regional director.
Details of the tumult will be published separately shortly – but the end effect, in spite of outrage among ‘anti-corruption’ councillors at the conduct of proceedings, was the assumption of all officer posts by right-wing allies of Cllr Caliskan.
But perhaps the most controversial was the selection of Cllr Ian Barnes as Cllr Caliskan’s deputy leader.
Because Cllr Barnes failed to pass the selection process, achieving only a ‘potential’ grading indicating he might at some future point be a suitable candidate – before becoming a beneficiary of the ‘irregularities’ overseen by the then-campaigns secretary who became council leader: Nesil Caliskan.
A candidate not yet considered good enough to represent Labour was given a ‘free pass’ to stand for election – and is now deputy leader of the council, after only a year’s experience, reporting to the same person responsible for his free pass.
A local Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:
Enfield has gone from flagship Labour council to rotten borough in just 12 months. Now, with a man who shouldn’t even be a councillor assuming the deputy leadership, we are the laughing stock of London.
This is an absolute travesty and the deputy leader situation sums up just what a farce has been created in Enfield. Labour needs to act right now and the action needs to be drastic.
Cllr Barnes has been contacted for comment. Cllr Caliskan has indicated previously that she does not wish to be contacted by the SKWAWKBOX.
Enfield is the archetype and distillation of the problems of entrenched right-wing privilege and anti-democracy at local government level. It is a problem that Labour must urgently resolve – and the process in Enfield needs to begin immediately.
Labour’s investigation into events in Enfield, whose results are expected shortly, must not – and cannot be allowed to – be a whitewash or a sticking-plaster.
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