Cllr Stephens announced the shock move during tonight’s full council meeting at County Hall. It is said that says he feels the time is right to step aside so the council can change gear and move forward.
Following the announcement Deputy Leader Cllr Steve Stubbings has said he does not want the job, meaning a vote will now take place to decide on the new Council leader.
Calls have been made to postpone the vote until a later date, however the Monitoring Officer says a vote must take place tonight.
UPDATE @ 19:52 – Cllr Jonathan Bacon has tonight been elected as [button-green url=”” target=”_self”]IN[/button-green]the new leader of the Isle of Wight Council, unopposed with 25 votes to 3 with 3 abstentions.
The appointment comes just 20 minutes after Cllr Ian Stephens announced his departure.
Cllr Bacon represents the ward of Brading, St Helens and Bembridge and is the executive member for children’s services and education. Cllr Bacon lives in St Helens and has been a resident of the village since 1978.
UPDATE THURSDAY – Ian Stephens has this morning confirmed that he is to stand as an independent prospective parliamentary candidate in the General Elections 2015 in May.
He will go against Andrew Turner (Con), Vix Lowthion (Green), Iain McKie (UKIP) and Stewart Blackmore (Lab) in the running to become the Island’s next MP.
In announcing his intention to stand for Parliament, Cllr Ian Stephens has today said:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Council Leader and, having brought the Council into a much better place than it was in two years ago, I feel the time has come for me to step aside as Leader, not only to allow a new Leader to take forward the next stage of this work and build upon our significant achievements to date but also to take the opportunity to stand as a candidate to represent the Island in Parliament as our elected MP.
“I have already undertaken a great deal of work to develop economic opportunities for the Isle of Wight much of which has involved me working with many national agencies and holding meetings with Ministers and officials at all levels of Government and I feel that I can now best serve the Island by using this experience and the knowledge I have attained to further the development of opportunities for the Isle of Wight by promoting its unique, yet special, case.
“It will also be a great asset to the Isle of Wight to have an MP who can work closely with the Council Administration to present a united front in fighting for the interests and benefits of the Island and all of its residents and businesses”.
Ian will remain as a member of the Isle of Wight Council Executive during his campaign and will also retain his LGA post. He will shortly announce a press conference to formally launch his campaign.