Candidate not backed by independent councillors

By Ross Findon

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


INDEPENDENT councillors on the Isle of Wight have distanced themselves from a decision by the Association of Island Independents to select a convicted drink driver as a candidate for the next election.

Members of the ruling County Hall group were not involved in the selection of Wendy Cook, which was announced last week.

Her selection, just weeks after she was banned from driving for 58 months for drink drive offences, prompted an outcry over the weekend, prompting independent Isle of Wight councillors to speak out.

Isle of Wight Council executive member for public protection Cllr Phil Jordan said members of the ruling group found out about the selection after seeing the story on the County Press website.

He said the group was not linked to the association and was unanimous in not supporting Ms Cook’s general election candidacy.

The association, which was formed following the May 2013 election, is due to meet this week to discuss Ms Cook’s candidacy.

Writing on the association's website chairman Peter Whiteman said the association's function was initially to support the elected members, advise them if required and to form links with business associations.

He said: "Since then, our emphasis has changed and broadened as an association to promote Independent governance founded on the Bell Principles for the Isle of Wight at all levels and support both existing and potential candidates in any way we can.

"Our constitution does not allow us to dictate, pressurise or make decisions for elected members — their independence is sacrosanct."


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