Local Campaign Forum that should oversee selection process bypassed – and not even aware until ‘procedures secretary’ sends email to members
In 2019, Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) investigated a string of complaints concerning the process of selecting Enfield’s Labour candidates in the 2018 local elections, in a scandal broken exclusively by SKWAWKBOX. The then-secretary of the Local Campaign Forum (LCF), who oversaw the selection process, was subsequently elected as council leader by the same candidates whose selection she oversaw – amid allegations of extensive ‘irregularities’ in the selection process and the deselection of all the borough’s black councillors.
LCF secretary and now Enfield council leader Nesil Caliskan, whose mother is a former staffer to ‘quitter’ MP Joan Ryan, was found guilty of at least two breaches of standards, including one of bullying a colleague. Half of the council’s cabinet, including the council’s deputy leader, resigned in protest at her conduct and the female chair, secretary, assistant secretary and women’s officer of the council’s Labour group – all the women officers except for Caliskan herself – resigned their positions en masse.
Caliskan eventually admitted that the hardest questions in the candidate interview process were not asked of some candidates who eventually stood and became councillors – and the Labour investigation found that candidates who had been rejected by the interview panel had been approved onto the candidate list without explanation.
As a result of its investigation, Labour’s NEC banned the Labour group from even holding meetings without the national party’s express permission – and issued a strict ban on any councillors having any involvement in the selection process for future candidates. Councillors were not even permitted to do something as simple as photocopying an application.
The ruling stated:
K) That no existing Councillor, or potential Council candidate in Enfield should be involved in the arrangements for the next Local Government Selection process. This includes having responsibility for administrative tasks, arrangements for panel interviews, the handling and photocopying of applications, ballot papers and other paperwork or the membership checks at selection meetings;
However, right-wing Enfield councillors, with the permission and support of Labour’s London regional office, have now met and taken it upon themselves to ignore the NEC’s ruling – and have selected another former Ryan staffer, Gina Needs, not just to be involved in the process but to take charge of it as ‘procedures secretary’:
The appointment is a direct contravention of a standing instruction of Labour’s National Executive Committee. Meanwhile, Labour member representatives were suspended for just allowing debate on motions of support for Jeremy Corbyn – and warned even in their reinstatement letters that daring to defy acting general secretary David Evans, who has no authority except what the NEC gives him, again would result in more severe punishment.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Cllr Needs for comment on her appointment in contravention of the NEC. She hung up.
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