Labour councillor defects, another quits

Councillors Anne Brown (left) and Bernadette Lappage (right)
Councillors Anne Brown (left) and Bernadette Lappage (right)

Fifth defection to breakaway group Community First is swiftly followed by second councillor resignation, reports James Cracknell

One Labour councillor has quit the party and another is set to quit Enfield Council altogether, in a tumultuous few days at the civic centre.

Anne Brown, a councillor for Southgate Green, confirmed she was joining breakaway political group Community First, which now has five former Labour councillors in its ranks after first being launched last July.

Meanwhile Bernadette Lappage, a councillor for Jubilee ward in Edmonton, is set to follow the same route out of the local Labour group as her former colleague Vicki Pite – by quitting the council altogether.

There has been turmoil within the council’s Labour group for three years, starting with Nesil Caliskan’s unexpected deposition of former leader Doug Taylor in May 2018, just two weeks after Cllr Taylor had helped boost Labour’s majority at the local election.

A rebuke from Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) followed a year later, amid complaints over the way the group’s selection process for the 2018 election had been run, prompting half the previous members of the cabinet to quit their posts.

Community First was subsequently established by former Labour councillors Derek Levy and Dinah Barry, and their ranks doubled shortly after when Dino Lemonides and Daniel Anderson joined them in August 2020.

Anne Brown is the fifth to quit Labour in favour of Community First. She has declined to comment at the current time, but the group’s leader Dinah Barry said: “Community First are delighted to welcome councillor Anne Brown to our group. 

“We have great respect for Anne’s strong Labour values and her courage. Anne represents Southgate Green ward, where Community First now has a majority.”

It has also now been confirmed that Cllr Lappage has resigned from the council, although she could not be reached for comment.

A council spokesperson said: “The monitoring officer has received correspondence from Cllr Lappage indicating her intention to resign from the 19th March.

“Until that date Cllr Lappage can revoke the notice of her intention to resign.”