In June Nesil Caliskan, Enfield Council leader and close ally of former Labour MP Joan Ryan, was found guilty by the council’s statutory Chief Monitoring Officer (CMO) of bullying a fellow councillor. The CMO also found against Caliskan on a separate complaint of attempting to exert undue influence on the Chair of the council’s ‘overview and scrutiny’ committee.
Caliskan has appealed the bullying finding and her appeal will be decided next Wednesday (4 Sep) – an appeal that seems to consist primarily of alleging political bias by the CMO and a claim that her own actions were ‘political’ and therefore not subject to the council’s Code of Conduct.
The council has now published the documents relating to the appeal – and perhaps the most incendiary is the response of the Chief Monitoring Officer to Caliskan’s allegations against him:
One of the final statements of your solicitor’s letter of 16th June 2019, is to ask me to ”discontinue using Council resources for political purposes.” I must take issue with this and ask for a written retraction of that statement because as it stands it is a serious attack on my professional integrity.
As a Solicitor, and more importantly as the statutory Monitoring Officer, the ability to remain impartial underpins my role and any suggestion that I am not impartial could have serious professional consequences for me. I would be grateful therefore if you, or your solicitor would retract this statement and any suggestion that I lack impartiality in my role.
The CMO has also addressed Ms Caliskan’s attempt to claim that her actions toward Cabinet colleagues are not subject to the Code of Conduct (emphases added):
I do not agree with the point you make about the Councillor Code of Conduct not being “ [in] tended to govern the relationship between Cabinet members.” The Code of Conduct applies to and regulates the behaviour and actions of all Councillors…
I do not agree with the point you make because the way in which you exercise that power as Leader and as a Councillor do fall within the Code of Conduct.
The council has also published statements of support that Caliskan has lodged as part of her appeal – and the history of some of the individuals who have provided statements in support of her appeal will be of great interest to watchers of the Labour right.
- Local Government Association (LGA) Labour group Chair Peter Robbins. In 2013, Robbins’ supporters in Lambeth Council’s Labour group were accused of mounting a ‘witch-hunt’ against a black woman candidate who had been selected by local members to replace him
- Cllr Chris Bond, who has been personally thanked in a Commons statement by right-wing former Labour MP Joan Ryan
- Cllr Mary Maguire. Maguire was formerly head of press and broadcasting for the Unison union – and is the mother of former Unison organiser Cllr Claire Stewart. Stewart was a participant in the ‘Unisongate’ discussion slammed by a judge for its manipulation of Unison’s general secretary election
- Cllr Tim Leaver. Cllr Leaver was once a vocal opponent of Joan Ryan – and in 2013 was the man in charge of Enfield’s selection process. Leaver spoke out against alleged malpractice in the selection process, accusing Caliskan’s mother Alev Cazimoglu of bribery and putting members under duress. However, last year Leaver helped Caliskan to block a motion by the then-deputy leader of the council against the bullying treatment of employees working for the council’s Labour group since Caliskan took over as leader
- Cllr Nneka Keazor. Keazor sometimes refers to herself as ‘Dr’ Keazor and proudly tweeted an image of her receiving a ‘doctorate’. However, she has been accused of buying the award from a fake university exposed in Nigeria, to the outrage of London’s Nigerian community
Keazor spoke out against the selections ‘irregularities’ overseen by Caliskan – she can now be identified as ‘LCF delegate 5’ on a taped discussion exclusively revealed by the SKWAWKBOX – but was subsequently promoted by Caliskan to Enfield Council’s cabinet
- Unison’s London Regional Secretary Maggi Ferncombe. Ferncombe took over the position after the retirement of Linda Perks – who was the other Unison official slammed by the judge for the anti-democratic discussion involving Claire Stewart
- Blairite leader of Southwark Council Peter John. In 2016, John was the subject of a complaint of religious discrimination against for religious Jews and Muslims by the Save Southwark Woods group
The highly controversial Ms Caliskan has staked a huge amount on this appeal, which the SKWAWKBOX can exclusively reveal will be held in public at 6.30pm on the 4th at the Enfield Civic Centre. Next Wednesday’s decision is eagerly awaited.
Nesil Caliskan has previously told the SKWAWKBOX that she does not wish to be contacted for comment.
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