The councillor in charge of finance has faced renewed calls to quit after it was revealed late accounts are set to cost Enfield Council an extra £100,000.

Opposition groups criticised cabinet member for finance Cllr Mary Maguire for failing to show up to a committee meeting to face questions on the accounts, which are now months overdue.

But council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan defended her colleague, saying cabinet members are not required to attend the meeting – and accused Conservative councillors of “trying to score weak political points”.

The Tories called on Cllr Maguire to step down in November after learning the accounts would be late for the third year in a row. At last Thursday’s general purposes committee, it was revealed the 2019-20 accounts have still not been fully audited – costing the council an extra £100,000 in fees.

READ MORE: Tories call for finance chief to quit after accounts late for 3rd year running

Photos posted on social media appeared to show Cllr Maguire out campaigning ahead of local elections on Thursday evening.

Tory leader Cllr Joanne Laban said: “The fact that the cabinet member for finance could not be bothered to turn up to be held to account for her department’s failings really shows this Labour administration’s arrogance, because quite frankly she should resign for this appalling record.”

Cllr Dino Lemonides, a former cabinet member for finance who quit Labour to join opposition group Community First, said he would have been asked to step down from his role if he had “presided over such a debacle”.

Enfield Council’s 2019-20 accounts were originally due to be signed off by the end of August, but the Government extended the deadline to November 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A council report states that more than half of local authorities failed to meet the November deadline, and 30 per cent have still not had their accounts signed off.

Cllr Lemonides, who was at Thursday’s meeting, said council officers are now working on the accounts for the last financial year while preparing accounts for the current year.

This is because documents submitted to the auditors have been incomplete and/or inaccurate, he added.

Cllr Caliskan said: “No cabinet member is a member of the general purposes committee and therefore not required to attend,” she said. “The Conservative councillors know this full well and are simply trying to score weak political points.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council places the highest possible importance on delivering quality financial reports backed up by robust independent audits. Our draft statement of accounts for the 2019-20 financial year was completed well before the statutory deadline for submission to the external auditors and was published on our website in July.

“Since the original publication of the draft accounts back in July 2020, the council has worked closely with our external auditors to support the audit of the accounts process is completed, and the council has submitted their final updated accounts to the general purposes committee on April 22.

“Our external auditors have commented that we are taking the right approach, support our endeavours to address previous years issues and improve the quality of key systems.

“There are some unforeseen staffing challenges to completing this final stage of the audit. However, subject to successful resolution of outstanding audit areas, they expect to be able to issue of an unqualified opinion on the accounts and on value for money when the audit is formally completed.”