Series of SKWAWKBOX revelations has culminated in condemnation by independent solicitor brought in by council’s monitoring officer
Enfield’s right-wing Labour council leader, Nesil Caliskan, has been the subject of a series of complaints and protests by local Labour members and councillors, as well as of action by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit (GLU), following a series of revelations by the SKWAWKBOX – which were picked up, without credit, by ‘mainstream’ media.
Caliskan was Labour’s local campaign forum (LCF) secretary when she oversaw an array of ‘irregular‘ selections of her allies, who promptly elected her leader of the council after last year’s local elections. The process also saw every BAME councillor in the borough deselected, to the outrage of local community groups.
The subsequent disciplinary process saw the Enfield Labour group placed into special measures – and the election process for a new cabinet delayed after Caliskan was rebuked for ignoring binding instructions issued by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). When the election finally went ahead, many of the council’s cabinet members refused to stand, saying they could not work with Caliskan.
Caliskan – whose family is close to former right-wing Labour hardliner Joan Ryan and who refuses to take queries from the SKWAWKBOX – has responded by alleging that she is the subject of a racially-motivated smear campaign. She also claimed that Labour’s ‘special measures‘ were to protect her – a claim subsequently shown to be false – and originally told members that the party’s investigation into her had been abandoned, which was also untrue.
But tonight her defence appears in tatters after a formal investigation by the council’s own standards process found that she had bullied at least one fellow councillor – and rejected her claim that she had been smeared.
An independent solicitor appointed by the council’s Monitoring Officer to conduct the investigation found that Caliskan’s treatment of fellow councillor Yasemin Brett “amounted to bullying of Cllr Brett by the leader of the council“, that Caliskan had failed to treat Brett with respect – and rejected Caliskan’s counter-claim of a “smear campaign“.
A statement by Cllr Brett demanded prompt action by the Labour Party:
Bullying has no place in public life or in any political party and the perpetrators must be held to account. The Labour Party must now intervene and defend colleagues from bullying.
Cllr Caliskan has previously said that she does not wish to be contacted by the SKWAWKBOX. However, she told a local paper that she felt most councils would not consider her behaviour toward Brett to be bullying – and claimed that it was one reason she now had a new cabinet without Brett.
The new cabinet includes members who failed to pass the candidate selection process but were put through to stand as a result of the ‘irregularities’ overseen by Caliskan – including the new deputy leader and the new chair of the scrutiny committee. The latter oversees the council’s spending of around £1 billion.
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment. Caliskan has not yet indicated whether she will appeal the judgment.
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