A prominent member of the Isle of Wight Council has resigned, triggering a by-election, likely to be held on the same day as the forthcoming General Election (12th December).
Chris Whitehouse, Conservative councillor for Newport West Ward for the past 6 years, has today (Tuesday) contacted the Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council tendering his resignation with immediate effect.
The shock move has surprised and disappointed fellow councillors as Whitehouse was a prominent, active and outspoken member of the controlling Conservative group. He recently served, first, as lead member for Children’s Services, developing the Island’s school improvement strategy, and more recently as Cabinet Secretary.
Speaking today, Chris Whitehouse says:
“It is a sad day for me, because it has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the residents of Newport West Ward and, indeed, the Island more widely; but my house on the Island is under offer, and I won’t be buying another one here”.
The Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Dave Stewart, has reacted to the news with disappointment, saying:
“Although I am very disappointed to see Chris standing down as a local Newport Councillor, I would place on record my thanks to him for his outstanding work as an Island Councillor. He has not only served his ward exceptionally well, but has also been a source of experience and advice to all our conservative team, especially with his expertise in communication and constitutional matters. I also value his personal friendship and wish him well in his future work which I understand will be based in London.”
David Pugh, Chairman of the Island Conservative Association, has paid tribute to the former councillor’s achievements:
“Chris has represented the residents of Newport West with distinction over the past six years, as reflected in his re-election in 2017. We are sorry to see him go and thank him for his service since first being elected in 2013.
“We will be selecting a local candidate for the by-election in the near future, to give Newport West the opportunity once again to choose a Conservative councillor to champion the area at County Hall. In the meantime, John Hobart (the councillor for the neighbouring ward of Carisbrooke & Gunville) is happy to assist residents with any issues of local concern, until this vacancy is filled on 12th December.”
Paying tribute to some of the Council’s senior staff, Whitehouse added:
“It has been a professional and personal pleasure to work with some excellent officers, particularly those on the children’s services team and those leading on public health; their commitment to their work is truly inspirational.”
Whitehouse is a political consultant at his own business The Whitehouse Consultancy. In 2003 he was awarded a Knighthood of Saint Gregory by Pope John Paul II, and was promoted to the rank of Knight Commander by Pope Francis I in 2017 for the promotion of ethics in public life.