Accepting the positions tonight, Councillor Geoff Brodie and Councillor Claire Critchison started their roles as chair and vice-chair of the authority on Thursday night in the first meeting since the elections — and the first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The powerful positions are usually decided at the annual meeting of the Isle of Wight Council in May but last year’s meeting did not go ahead due to the pandemic. Instead, former councillors George Cameron and Shirley Smart were re-elected to fill the roles in September but due to an unsuccessful re-election campaign not only lost their seats on the Isle of Wight Council but also their leadership roles.
They first took office in 2019, in the chair and vice-chair partnership but Mr Cameron was the vice-chair under former chairwoman Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox in 2017 and 2018.
The role of the chair at the full council meetings is to ensure things run smoothly and to order, controlling the chamber and councillors where necessary, a role Cllrs Brodie and Critchison will become accustomed to.
Cllr Geoff Brodie was nominated by Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox and Cllr Ian Stephens. Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said Cllr Brodie knew the constitution inside and out, while Cllr Stephens said there would be no person who is fairer and understanding of the council.
Conservative Cllr Ray Redrup was nominated for the position but lost by 2 votes — with 20 councillors voting in favour of Cllr Brodie and 18 in favour of Cllr Redrup.
Cllr Brodie said:
“I have to say to 16 years ago when I joined the Council, I never aspired to this ever; I am quite surprised to be here. I will give it my absolute best and will be as fair as I possibly can be.”
As vice-chair Cllr Critchison, a new face to the council, beat Cllr Redrup again with 20 votes to 18.
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