Labour councillor resigns

Labour councillor Vicki Pite has represented Chase ward since 2014
Vicki Pite had represented Chase ward since 2014

Vicki Pite quits Enfield Council as divisions within Labour group deepen, reports James Cracknell

A Labour councillor has resigned from Enfield Council “with enormous sadness”.

Vicki Pite, who represented Chase ward for more than six years, stood down this week saying she “regrets” no longer being able to serve local residents.

Although Vicki did not elaborate on the reasons for her resignation, the Dispatch understands that the decision is related to a long-running division with the Labour group. Earlier this year, four Labour councillors quit the party to set up a new opposition group, Community First. Vicki has not joined Community First and remains a Labour Party member.

She told the Dispatch: “Resigning was a most difficult decision; one I took with enormous sadness. I respect and thank residents who gave me their vote in 2014 and again in 2018. You’re my neighbours and I regret that I’ll not be able to continue working for the ward where I’ve lived for 40 years, as a councillor at least.

“I hope that as a community activist and volunteer I’ll still have a contribution to make.”

Chase ward councillor Dino Lemonides, one of the four who joined Community First over the summer following a long-standing rift with council leader Nesil Caliskan, paid tribute to his former ward colleague Vicki. Cllr Lemonides said: “Vicki served the local community and Labour Party well during her term of office. She championed various causes, including the lack of GPs and dentists, and poor housing in Chase ward.

“She will be sorely missed by residents and myself and I wish her all the best in her political retirement.”

Fellow Chase ward member and Labour councillor Hass Yusuf added: “The residents of Chase ward have lost a very hard-working councillor – but I am delighted that Vicki still remains a member of the Labour Party.”

Vicki was the first councillor to call for the council to declare a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019. She submitted a motion to this effect at a council meeting in January of that year and although it was not selected for discussion initially, the council debated and agreed a similar motion six months later.

The resignation means there are now two vacant seats on the council – the other was vacated following the death of Chris Bond in July. All elections and by-elections in the UK were postponed until 2021 by the government because of the pandemic.

A council spokesperson said: “All elections and referendums have been postponed by the Coronavirus Act until 6th May 2021. Unless there is a change in the legislation, the by-election timetable will not start until the notice of election, which must be published around 29th March 2021.”

Cllr Caliskan declined to comment on the reasons for Vicki resigning as a Labour councillor.