UPDATED EXCLUSIVE: Councillor Phil Jordan, the Isle of Wight Council’s Executive member for public protection and the PFI contract, has been charged with drink driving and is due to appear in court next week, Island Echo can exclusively reveal.
It was announced earlier today (Wednesday) that Cllr Jordan has stepped aside from the council’s Executive due to ‘personal reasons’, but the Isle of Wight Council spokesperson did not expand on the matter.
The 67-year-old local businessman of Carpenters Road, St Helens – who is part of the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership – is due to appear before the Isle of Wight Magistrates Court on Tuesday having been charged with drink driving on 28th November.
Councillor Ian Stephens will now take over Cllr Jordan’s role of responsibility for the PFI contract.
Today’s news that Cllr Jordan has stepped down as Executive member for public protection came as part of a bigger announcement that the Council Leader is reshuffling the Isle of Wight Council’s Executive all together.
Councillor Bacon has said:
“This decision comes in light of the commitment of the council to pursue a medium term financial strategy that aims to transform the organisation over the next two years to enable sustainability of services in the medium to long term. We need to have a clear focus on regeneration over the coming months, the report for which will be considered by the Executive next week (15th December).
“A tighter, more focused Executive group will enable us to concentrate on this more acutely in order to drive through the work that needs to be done to protect public services for the Island’s residents.
“The portfolios of Executive members have been reviewed and streamlined to help to take account of the renewed focus of the organisation quickly and effectively. It will enable us to create more pace and impetus to meet the challenges we face as we move into 2017, not least the setting of the council’s budget for 2017/18 and to protect vital local services, but also to generate additional income for the council through increases in the tax base; based upon the pillars of regeneration, growth and productivity, which will increase overall prosperity of the Island”.
Executive member’s new roles are as follows:
- Jonathan Bacon (leader) – Resources and Children’s Services
- Julia Baker-Smith – Regeneration, Housing and Homelessness, Transport
- Paul Fuller – Enviornment, Fire and Local Engagement
- Shirley Smart – Planning, Tourism and Recreation, Culture
- Ian Stephens – Contract Management (PFI and Waste) and Car Parking
- Steve Stubbings (Deputy Leader) – Adult Social Care and Public Health
UPDATE @ 20:00 – Cllr Jordan has this evening told Island Echo:
“I sincerely apologise to everyone affected by this. I made a mistake, a miscalculation and an error of judgement for which the Courts will decide my fate and penalty.
“I have stepped aside from all executive roles as a result of this.
“In no way do I support drinking and driving and fully support the Courts in their dealing with these charges”.
UPDATE @ 22:25 – Cllr Dave Stewart, Conservative Group Leader on the Isle of Wight has issued a statement on today’s Executive reshuffle announcement. He has tonight said:
“It is extremely disappointing that the leader of the council has tried to dress his Executive reshuffle up as a renewed focus on promoting regeneration of the Island’s economy when in fact it is just a load of spin.
“I think it must seem to everyone that Councillor Jordan’s appearance in court on drink driving allegations is the real reason he has stepped down and it is certainly not anything to do with having a smaller more focussed Executive.
“I can’t believe Jonathan Bacon would think the people of the Island would actually buy it for more than a few minutes and in doing so he has held them in contempt.
“I certainly cast no aspersions on Councillor Jordan who is, of course, innocent unless and until proven guilty and we await the outcome of his court case”.
UPDATE THURSDAY PM – The leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Jonathan Bacon has said in a statement issued this afternoon:
“A number of comments have been made by some in relation to the timing and content of the press statement released yesterday about the Executive Reshuffle. A reshuffle has been under consideration for some time for the reasons stated in yesterday’s press release. There has been much activity in respect of regeneration over the last six months and yesterday saw the publication of the papers in respect of the new Regeneration Strategy, which has been on the Council Forward Plan for some time.
“The situation in respect of Councillor Jordan has cut across this timetable but it is fair to say that the fact it has arisen added an impetus to proceeding with the proposed Executive reorganisation. I did not disclose more detail of the situation concerning Phil in the statement in accordance with his wishes as it is fundamentally a personal matter, although it is of course the case that in my view it has made his position holding roles in relation to public protection, public health and liaison with the police untenable.
“I find it particularly farcical that some have suggested there is an attempt to cover up Councillor Jordan’s situation when the court proceedings are wholly within the public domain. Such allegations come across simply as desperate attempts to fling mud.
“However, as the press have now published details of the charge that Councillor Jordan faces I feel I can now make comment and pay tribute to Phil and his work over the last three and a half years.
“Phil has been one of our hardest working Councillors, whose abilities have meant that he was able to deal with some incredibly difficult and complex matters that I suspect few others could have coped with, particularly the PFI contract inherited from the previous administration. His warmth, generosity and sensitivity have contributed both to the Independent Group and those residents he has helped.
“It is all the more sad that his time as an Executive member has come to an end as a result of foolish behaviour which cannot be condoned. Phil’s abilities are a great loss to the Administration. However, there is much work underway which we can and must continue to pursue to do what we can for the Isle of Wight and its residents. On that journey Phil’s support and contribution to the Executive will be greatly missed”.