Enfield’s council leader has been found to have bullied a colleague over a decision to suspend her from cabinet “prematurely”.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan’s decision to remove Cllr Yasemin Brett from her post at the council’s top table broke the council’s code of conduct – and the way she handled the matter amounted to bullying, according to an official ruling.

Cllr Brett, the former cabinet member for public health, was suspended in November after publicly disagreeing with a decision that had previously been reached by the cabinet.

The Bowes ward councillor declared a non-pecuniary interest in a report on the North London Waste Plan and left a cabinet meeting while her colleagues discussed the report.

Cllr Brett had long opposed the construction of a waste plant at Pinkham Way – a site identified as suitable for a new waste facility under the plan – due to environmental concerns.

Cllr Caliskan swiftly removed Cllr Brett from her post for breaking “a previously agreed collective position by cabinet to support a particular report”.

But a solicitor brought in to investigate the incident following a complaint by Cllr Brett found Cllr Caliskan’s decision to suspend her breached several parts of the council’s code of conduct.

The council leader failed to meet with Cllr Brett to discuss her concerns over collective decision-making before removing her from her post.

In a ruling set out in a letter to Cllr Brett, Jeremy Chambers, the council’s monitoring officer, said this ran contrary to principles in the code of conduct about treating others with respect.

He added that the leader’s decision-making and the conduct of a meeting with Cllr Brett “amounted to bullying”.

The investigating solicitor recommended that the two councillors meet informally to discuss communication, behaviour and party discipline.

They also recommended the council leader offer a written apology to Cllr Brett.

The monitoring officer’s decision has yet to be discussed by a conduct committee and could be subject to appeal.

Cllr Brett is one of five long-serving councillors who recently withdrew from the running to be re-elected to Enfield’s cabinet in protest at the handling of the Labour Group’s annual general meeting.

She said: “I have tried to work and support the leader in our work on behalf of Enfield residents. l hope she will reflect on the independent findings.

“Bullying has no place in public life or in any political party and the perpetrators must be held to account. The Labour Party must now intervene and defend colleagues from bullying.”

Cllr Caliskan said: “The report found that I could have given Cllr Brett more warning for temporarily removing her from Cabinet for two weeks, after she publicly voted against democratically agreed Labour policy.

“I don’t think most people would call that bullying. In other councils, she would have been permanently sacked from the group.

“This is one of the reasons Labour councillors have elected a new cabinet without Cllr Brett, and we are getting on with the job people elected us to do – building new homes, supporting parents and schools and making changes to stop the rise in youth violence.”