The London branch of the Labour Party has insisted the Enfield group’s annual meeting did not breach party rules – amid a row that saw half the cabinet step down from their posts.

Five cabinet members – including the then-deputy leader, Cllr Daniel Anderson – withdrew their bids to sit at the council’s top table at Enfield Labour Group’s annual general meeting (AGM) on May 7.

Their protest was sparked by what they claim was a failure to consult with party members over leadership elections – which must now take place every year following a ruling by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

The dissenting councillors said the AGM went against local Labour Party rules because it did not allow time for members to express their views on leadership candidates.

But a London Labour spokesperson said: “The Party has implemented and is continuing to implement the NEC’s recommendations.

“The Labour Group’s AGM was conducted in line with these recommendations, the Labour Group’s own standing orders and the Party’s rules.”

The protest – by Cllr Anderson, Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Cllr Dino Lemonides, Cllr Achilleas Georgiou and Cllr Yasemin Brett – saw them pull out of the running to be cabinet members for the 2019-20 municipal year.

After their departure, several councillors with just one year’s experience were promoted to the top table – including the new deputy leader, Cllr Ian Barnes.

It marks the latest episode in a sustained bout of infighting among Enfield’s Labour councillors that first broke out after 2018’s local elections.

A leadership contest held in the aftermath of the elections saw the removal of long-standing Labour leader Cllr Doug Taylor and a win for young councillor Cllr Nesil Caliskan.

But a subsequent wave of complaints from party members – including allegations of irregularities in the vetting process for council candidates – led Labour’s NEC to launch a formal investigation into the group.

The NEC drew up a list of measures for the Enfield group to put in place – including mandatory elections for the position of leader to be held every year.

But nominations for the leadership were initially left off the agenda for the party’s AGM, which was originally due to be held on April 29.

The party’s governance and legal unit eventually intervened, calling for the meeting to be rearranged to include nominations for the leader with at least seven days’ notice given.

The AGM was rescheduled for May 7 – but the outgoing cabinet members said that did not give them enough time to consult with party members before the meeting took place, going against the group’s standing orders.

They also warned that several councillors who self-nominated for important positions could be under investigation by the GLU and their election could bring the group into disrepute.

Thirteen Labour councillors signed a letter to NEC officer Jim Kennedy claiming the meeting was illegitimate and should be postponed.

A petition signed by local Labour members was also sent to Jennie Formby branding the AGM illegitimate.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said: “Our Labour Group AGM was conducted with the support and oversight of senior Labour Party officials.

“Nominations for leader were taken and a ballot was due to take place at the AGM.

“Labour councillors voted on who we want to take up important roles to serve the people of Enfield, to deliver decent public services and run the council in line with our Labour values.

“I congratulate all those who were elected into cabinet, and I look forward to working with our new, diverse and talented cabinet colleagues.”