Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Council leaders resign over 'bickering'

Jonathan Bacon
Image caption Jonathan Bacon said "party politics and ego" were being "put before the concerns and issues of island people"

A council's leader and deputy leader have resigned from their roles, blaming "political games" and "bickering" among colleagues.

Jonathan Bacon and Steve Stubbings said the "damaging behaviour" of Isle of Wight councillors was "overwhelming" efforts to deal with government cuts.

Mr Bacon said a lack of support had made his position "intolerable".

He led the council for two years despite his independent group having no overall majority.

In a resignation statement, Mr Bacon said: "We now have a situation amongst elected members where party politics and ego are being put before the concerns and issues of island people."

In October, Mr Bacon reversed a council vote against devolution, saying a £900m deal to set up a new authority for the Solent area was the only way to address the authority's "perilous financial state", following budget cuts of more than £50m over the previous five years.

Announcing his own resignation, former deputy leader Steve Stubbings said the devolution deal had been "effectively withdrawn" by the government.

But a deal partner, Portsmouth Council leader Donna Jones, said the claim was untrue and she hoped a deal would be announced in the budget in March.

Another member of the island council's six-person executive, Gordon Kendall, has also announced his resignation. He was the member responsible for major contract management and car parking.

Conservative group leader Dave Stewart said he would hold talks with other parties to form a "caretaker cross-party administration" ahead of elections in May.

"It's clear the independent administration has been in disarray for some time now, and it was proving increasingly ineffective in even adequately running the council's services," he added.

Isle of Wight Council declined to comment on the claims made in the resignation statement.

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