18 Councillors, including Independents and Green Party members, have come together to form a group who, supported by Liberal Democrat Andrew Garratt and Daryl Pitcher of the Vectis Party, have a working majority enabling them to take control of the Council.
Yesterday evening (Wednesday), at the first Isle of Wight Council meeting since the recent elections, Councillor Lora Peacey Wilcox was elected as Leader of the Isle of Wight Council. Councillor Ian Stephens has been named Deputy Leader.
Council Leader Lora Peacey Wilcox has said:
“On 6th May 61% of electors voted for a change from the previous Conservative administration. Since the election results were announced the new Alliance of Councillors has been working together closely to form a strong disciplined group that respects the wishes of voters.
“We will shortly be announcing our detailed plans to take the Council forward, including restoring democracy and opening up engagement with residents, businesses and our Town and Parish Councils. We must prioritise Covid recovery. In doing so we must have particular regard to the mental health and wellbeing of Islanders. We must also help our local businesses and High Streets recover. With this in mind we will be looking carefully at car parking charges. There are also many issues relating to planning and housing that require urgent attention.
“To further these aims I have already appointed a new Cabinet from across the membership of the Alliance, ensuring that people with the right skills and abilities are in the right posts, rather than being restricted by political party restraints.”
Councillor Geoff Brodie, who has been elected as the Chairman of the Council, has said:
“A lot of damage was done to the Council and the Island by the previous Conservative Administration. We need to deal with that and, in the process of doing so, restore the peoples trust and confidence in the Council and their elected representatives. Openness and transparency have been sadly lacking in recent years. We have to change that.
“As part of the restoration of democracy we have restored the long-standing practice that an opposition member should be in charge of Scrutiny and that Council Scrutiny committees have reverse proportionality, meaning that they are in the control of the opposition. We are not afraid of examination and scrutiny, indeed we welcome it as part of the proper functioning of a local authority.”
Cllr Peacey-Wilcox added:
“There is a great deal of work ahead. Because so much was dealt with by the Conservatives behind closed doors, not least the Floating Bridge, we are going to need time to find out what has been going on, but we are going to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. However, what I can promise you is that from tonight the Isle of Wight has a new political culture; one of political inclusion rather than political competition, where councillors and staff work as a single team and invite into County Hall all the available local expertise to create equal partnerships with our public sector partners, our local councils, business organisations, charities and emergency hubs, to deliver a safe route for all out of this crisis, and to put us on the road to an ecologically sustainable future and a better quality of life.”
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Cabinet members have already been appointed which include:
- Councillor Jonathan Bacon – Environment
- Councillor Phil Jordan – Infrastructure and Transport
- Councillor Chris Jarman – Resources
- Councillor Julie Jones-Evans – Regeneration
- Councillor Debbie Andre – Education and Children’s Services
- Councillor Karl Love – Adult Social Care, Public Health and Housing
- Councillor Paul Fuller – Planning
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