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How well will the Conservative councillors be scrutinised? That was the question left hanging in the air after the all-important scrutiny committee, which challenges the ruling group, was left in charge of a Conservative councillor.

One of the main positions of opposition in the Isle of Wight Council, chairman of the corporate scrutiny, went to Cllr Richard Hollis, a Conservative.

Voting took place at a virtual meeting of the full council on Wednesday, after the previous chair, Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Garratt, stood down.

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Nominations to take his place came from all sides of the virtual chamber, with Island Independent Cllr Michael Lilley, Conservative Cllr Richard Hollis and Independent Members Group Cllr Karl Love all in the running.

Cllr Geoff Brodie, who has previously been critical of the corporate scrutiny committee, said the role is extremely important in local government and nominated Cllr Love who he said would be hardworking and get to the bottom of things. He said:

“I am very disappointed, frankly, in the way corporate scrutiny has been under this administration and I don’t blame the people who have been in the chair as they have been under enormous pressure from up high to conform.

“To be the chair you have to be a tough cookie — Cllr Dave Stewart [now leader of the council] was a pretty effective chair under the independent administration but I think it is important we retain the position for an opposition councillor.

“I am afraid to say there has been too much just agreeing with everything and applauding the leadership – not asking the relevant questions when there are so many to ask of this administration.”

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Cllr Stewart, head of the ruling Conservative majority, said the committee is not about opposition but being a ‘critical friend’ and working with the cabinet and whole council, and nominated Cllr Hollis. He said:

“It is not about confrontation because scrutiny is a council post where whoever is in that position can do a good job for the Island community and I have no doubt Cllr Hollis would fulfil that role.”

However, Cllr Michael Murwill, now an independent Conservative councillor, pointed out a few years ago Cllr Stewart was saying what Cllr Brodie said. He said:

“I hope the leader has not changed his mind. But of course, he has since his last comment – prior to an election – which I think is the most important time to have opposition corporate scrutiny in place. To be a fair judge and a critical friend, not an enemy.”

The ex-chair of the committee Cllr Garratt gave his support to Cllr Lilley but said the weakness of scrutiny is the lack of resources given to it and hoped in the long term an administration would provide it with what it needed to ‘do its job right’. He said:

“I do believe it should be held by a member of the opposition group as it does provide reassurance to the public that the chair is even more likely to not be dancing to the tune of any political group.”

After going to the vote twice, with Cllr Love out of the running in the second round, Cllr Richard Hollis was given the role, with 21 councillors voting for Cllr Hollis and 16 votes for Cllr Lilley.

Earlier in the year, some councillors voted against reverse proportionality, which meant the Conservatives as the ruling party, have the majority on the corporate scrutiny committee, where opposition councillors previously outnumbered them.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Karn Evil 9

So I guess it won’t be biased towards the council at all.


It is a pointless job, that just provides employment at everyone elses expense to another politician – they love big goverment – more pointless jobs means they get to stay in work.
Scrutiny is adequate as the public can see the effects of decisions and can vote turkeys out of office or protest.


A classic, let’s keep things inside the blue house, then we can do what we want, when we want and no-one will ever find out.
This bunch, crowd, mob, and i would love to use loads of stronger words are a total disgrace and the sooner they leave the better.


well stand for election then,and do something about it .


How about everyone on the island who are sick and tired of the money wasting games, bent antics and planning jokes of the current council that are destroying the heart and soul and of the Isle of Wight come together and get this bunch of stagnant dinosaurs out before total destruction is caused but chance would be a fine thing and I don’t mean disrespect by saying that vast majority of people on the island are retired/elderly and when it comes to voting they usually vote who ever are in. my nan does this as she says *I think there… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan

I’m elderly but not yet retired, and at the last election, i did not vote blue, but they still got in.
I wish we, the public could have a vote of NO confidence in this bunch, but i suppose, even if the vote is no confidence, they still would find a way of staying in power.
So lets hope they haven’t ruined the island before the next election.


Please,Please can we remember this and all the other failures by this council when it comes to voting time? As long as they keep getting voted in, the same things will happen


What joke, time to dump Dave Stewart?

Opinions Matter

Lots of yes sir, no sir and butt kissing going on by the sounds of it. The floating bridge expenses need urgent attention!

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