The leader of Haringey Borough Council was forced to defend her involvement in the suspension of a trade unionist last night.

Members of the National Union of Teachers packed the public gallery during a full council meeting as Niall O’Connor, deputy secretary of the NUT, challenged councillors over the suspension of branch secretary Julie Davies.

It was revealed that Councillor Claire Kober emailed three members of council staff, including chief executive Nick Walkley, regarding Ms Davies’ behaviour.

In the email, Cllr Kober wrote: “Below is yet another example of unacceptable behaviour from a council employee. Something has to be done."

Cllr Kober was referring to an email sent from Ms Davies to Councillor Barbara Blake. After emailing Cllr Blake to complain about inadequate bin collection, Ms Davies sent a second email referring to the controversy surrounding her selection as a Labour candidate in September 2013.

Mr O’Connor said emails from the leader showed her “personal intervention” in the case.

Addressing the chamber, he said: “What is your desired outcome? What do you want to achieve? What does winning look like? Claire Kober, do you think you can elect our rep? You can’t. She is elected by us.

“If you sack her she will still be our rep. She will be our rep in January. She will be our rep in February. In March. In April. You cannot sack her.

"This dispute can only be resolved by talking. Not through press releases, or through consultants, but to us. The NUT has asked for talks.”

He added: “This is a political dispute, it needs a political solution”.

In response, Cllr Kober said: “I’ve simply sent two emails about behaviour I’ve seen. I’ve done nothing more than that.”

She added: “Individual disciplinary matters are not a matter for the council chamber.

“I’ll challenge anybody in this room to say that I’ve done anything other than pass it on when I’ve seen something wrong.”

Cllr Kober said she herself was a trade union member. There were shouts of “scab” and “sack her” from the public gallery.

Julie Davies was unable to comment as she is unable to talk to the press while suspended.