Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight council leader David Pugh loses in election vote

David Pugh
Image caption David Pugh had been council leader for five years

Isle of Wight council leader David Pugh has lost his seat to an independent candidate, as the Conservatives lost control of the authority

Mr Pugh was defeated by independent Richard Priest in the Shanklin South ward by just 10 votes.

Independents won 20 seats. The Tories lost nine seats and their majority on the council. Turnout was just over 35%.

UKIP, which did not contest council elections on the island four years ago, won two seats.

With all the Isle of Wight results in, the Conservatives have 15 seats; Liberal Democrats lost four of their five seats while Labour gained a seat and now have two councillors.

Independent Mr Priest said his victory "shows the passion people had for the debate".

"We knew it was a tough, uphill battle," he said.

Mr Pugh had been a councillor for eight years, five of them as council leader.

He said he made "no apologies" for the council's education policy which had been criticised during the election campaign.

The island's school system has been reorganised from a three-tier to a two-tier structure, and since then three of its six secondary schools have been rated "inadequate" by Ofsted.

"After eight years in power, people are going to have a view on things," he said.

"Clearly I'm disappointed. It's been a privilege to serve the island.

"It's been difficult for the party both nationally and locally."

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