Council Conservative boss Steve Hastings promises ‘robust’ opposition

Cllr Steve Hastings, who heads up the Conservative Group, has promised ‘robust’ opposition at meetings of the Isle of Wight Council.

On Wednesday night, at a meeting held at Medina Leisure Centre, he lost out on leadership of the local authority to independent Lora Peacey-Wilcox, by 18 votes to 20.

Speaking to the County Press, he said: “They had the numbers, we didn’t. They managed to unite.

“We united. We’ve got a very strong party and would have been an excellent minority administration.”

Cllr Hastings said: “We’re going to be a powerful and robust opposition.

“We’re a strong group.

“We will have shadow cabinet posts and have briefings from officers.

“At the end of the day, we all have to work together for the good of the Island.

“You have to play the cards you’ve got, not look at the pack”.

Before the May 6 election, the Conservatives held a majority on the council, under the leadership of Dave Stewart.

After Mr Stewart lost his Chale, Niton and Whitwell seat, Steve Hastings was initially installed as acting leader of the Conservatives at Isle of Wight Council.

Last Saturday, he was elected permanent leader of the group.

Paying tribute to the former council leader, Cllr Hastings said: “Dave Stewart was a hard worker and a great leader.

“Look at his leader’s report, which was overlooked tonight.

“We achieved a lot under his leadership.

“I will attempt to follow and be a good leader as well.”

Moving forward, the Isle of Wight Council will be run by a group of independent councillors, along with councillors representing the Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Green Party, the Vectis Party and Our Island.

The authority’s 18 Conservative members will hold the majority on scrutiny committees, which consider decisions made by the council, and will sit in opposition.

Cllr Hastings said he hopes the work put in by the Conservative-led administration in the last term will not be undone by the new leadership.

“There’s been a lot of progress and achievement,” he said.

“That progress, we would not like to see unpicked and not get to fruition.

“Whoever is going to take it forward, it’s for Islanders and the Island.

“If we can help on this side, we will.”

Isle of Wight County Press | News