With big questions still remaining over the future leadership of the Isle of Wight Council following all the excitement of last Friday’s count, here are some key points of the election.

The Isle of Wight went to the polls on Thursday voting for a new Isle of Wight Council, Police and Crime Commissioner, and in some areas, town and parish councils.

Voting for 39 councillors for the Island’s main authority,  a majority of 20 was needed to take control. No group was able to reach that target and the ruling Conservative Party lost its power.

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The council is now in a state of no overall control, as the Conservatives only secured 18 seats, and suffered the blow of its leader, Dave Stewart, not being reelected. New acting party leader, Cllr Steve Hastings, has invited opposition councillors to cross the chamber and help form a majority administration.

Filling the remaining 21 seats of the council are 13 independents, 2 Green, 2 Island Independent Network, 1 Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 Our Island and 1 Vectis Party councillors.

While that all happened, there were some key seat changes and voting close-calls you may have missed:

  • Prominent politician Shirley Smart lost her Mountjoy and Shide seat to a new Conservative face, Martin Oliver, by 159 votes.
  • The Binstead and Fishbourne seat, previously held by Conservatives, was easily won, with a vote margin of 300, by newcomer, Independent Ian Dore.
  • Former council leader, Jonathan Bacon, was able to get back on the council, beating the Conservative candidate Brian Tyndall by 154 votes in Brading and St Helens.
  • The Green Party was able to gain 2 seats on the council for the first time — taking 2 former Conservative seats and dethroning the leader of the council. Joe Lever won the Carisbrooke and Gunville ward by 39 votes and Claire Critichison gained 876, winning Chale, Niton and Shorwell by a margin of 240.
  • In a head-to-head battle between Conservative and Labour in the heart of Cowes, with only 35 votes in it, Labour’s Richard Quigley won the seat.
  • Gaining the most votes out of every candidate, and the only one to reach 4 figures, was Independent Paul Fuller gaining the support of 1,101 people in Cowes West and Gurnard — 77% of the votes cast in the ward.
  • In Freshwater South, the fight was between 2 councillors — Conservative, George Cameron and Independent, John Medland. Medland won, by 49 votes, meaning Mr Cameron, the chairman of the Isle of Wight Council, lost his seat.
  • It was a close race in Haylands and Swanmore with only 14 votes separating winning Conservative Vanessa Churchman and Independent Les Kirkby.
  • A 10-vote gap secured the win for Independent Chris Jarman in Totland and Colwell against Conservative Carol Bryan.
  • It was even closer in Osborne, with only 4 votes between first and second — Conservative Stephen Hendry stopping the Green Party’s hope for a third seat.
  • Former council stalwart, the Lib Dem’s Reg Barry was not standing for re-election in Nettlestone and Seaview, leaving the door open for new Independent David Adams to take the seat.
  • 23 councillors will be returning to their seats in County Hall, including members of the former Conservative cabinet team Cllrs Paul Brading, Clare Mosdell and Ian Ward and well-known Independents, Cllrs Debbie Andre, Geoff Brodie and Julie Jones-Evans.
  • The Island Independent Network gained another seat with Karen Lucioni taking Ryde Monktonmead away from the Conservatives.
  • The newly-formed political group Vectis Party also gained its first seat, with its leader Daryll Pitcher unseating the Conservatives cabinet member for housing, Barry Abrahams.
  • Despite fronting 28 candidates, Labour candidates only managed to secure 1 seat — which is still a rise as they had no seats before the election.

The first meeting of the Isle of Wight Council will be on 26th May, when decisions about leaders and the cabinet will be made.

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