Right-winger’s second adverse judgment in just over a week
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.
Local members and half the Enfield Council cabinet demanded an investigation, while all the female Labour group officers resigned except for Caliskan herself in protest at bullying and intimidation. The resulting disciplinary process saw the Enfield Labour group placed into special measures – and Caliskan was rebuked for ignoring binding instructions issued by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Many of the council’s cabinet members refused to stand, saying they could not work with her.
Earlier this month, Caliskan’s defence began to fall apart after an independent solicitor appointed by the council’s Monitoring Officer to conduct an investigation into her behaviour found that Caliskan’s had bullied fellow councillor Yasemin Brett.
Now, barely a week later, she has been found guilty of a second standards breach. An independent solicitor appointed by the council’s Monitoring Officer has concluded that she had attempted to exert undue influence on Derek Levy, the chair of the council’s ‘overview and scrutiny’ committee.
Caliskan emailed Levy to ask for regular meetings so that he would be “more closely aligned to key decisions” of the council Labour group she leads.
The function of the overview and scrutiny committee’s role, as its name suggests, is to provide independent scrutiny of Enfield Council’s decisions.
Levy’s response to Caliskan’s approach warned her that her email was “inappropriate, compromising and incriminating” – but the following day she emailed to again ask for a meeting, at which Levy made a formal complaint to the Monitoring Officer.
The investigating solicitor’s report stated that Ms Caliskan’s behaviour constituted a significant threat to the the council’s overview and scrutiny function, one which had only been avoided,
because of the experience and confidence of experienced councillors who took steps to protect the integrity and independence of the overview and scrutiny function.
Last month Daniel Anderson, the council’s former deputy leader, published a letter saying that he could not work with Cllr Caliskan because she was ‘unfit for holding public office‘.
Nesil Caliskan has previously said that she does not wish to be contacted for comment by the SKWAWKBOX.
It is time for urgent change in Enfield. The council is acting through its own processes, but the Labour Party must also take action.
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