Election: Priest ousts Pugh

By Emily Pearce

Friday, May 3, 2013

 

Election: Priest ousts Pugh

Independent Richard Priest (centre) with former Isle of Wight Council leader David Pugh.

UPDATED 15:44*

CONSERVATIVE council leader David Pugh has been ousted by independent candidate Richard Priest, by just ten votes.

Mr Priest triumphed in Shanklin South, with 629 votes to Mr Pugh's 619, after pledging to protect public services and return power to people rather than politicians.

*His victory was one of many for independent candidates today, who now have the most seats in County Hall.

Island Independent group co-ordinator Ian Stephens said members would meet this weekend to discuss the future direction and leadership of the Isle of Wight Council.

"We are now in a position where we can effect change in the local authority and I would like to think we can effect positive change and move forward to create better services for the Island.

"What the Island really need now is a positive way ahead.

"We will be looking at returning to the committee structure, rather than have scrutiny panels and a cabinet," he said.

He added that he was sorry Chris Welsford and Vanessa Churchman lost their seats.

"The council can ill afford to lose such experienced and talented figures," he said.

Richard Priest said: "I'm proud and privileged to represent the people of Shanklin, and I'll do that to the best of my ability.

"It's time for a change, to work together for the benefit of Island people, and this is a great moment to seize that opportunity.

"Now we have to have a conversation about how the Isle of Wight Council goes forward."

Mr Pugh admitted he was 'taken aback' by the result.

"Clearly it's disappointing, but I've worked hard on the council for eight years and I have other things to do now. I'm looking forward to getting my life back," he said.

"I am surprised, I'm taken aback. But the people have had their say. 

"I'm grateful to everyone who voted for me.

"Goodness knows what the Isle of Wight Council will look like now."

Mr Priest's running mate in Shanklin Central, Jon Gilbey, defeated Tory incumbent David Williams, by 528 votes to 432.

UKIP was also celebrating after it saw two candidates elected onto the council, the first UKIP members to sit on the council.

Labour's Geoff Lumley, who has been joined by a second Labour candidate, Allan Hollands, said: "I'm delighted, and grateful to the people of Newport East for re-electing me.

"I've known Allan for years and we will work well together.

"I quite liked being a lone voice, but Reg Barry can have that role now for the Lib Dems."

Independent candidates, the majority of whom stood under the Island Independents banner, have gained 20 seats, compared with the Conservatives' 15 seats.

Labour and UKIP each have two and the Lib Dems have one.

Independent candidate Steve Stubbings, who won Ventnor West, where the voter turnout was highest, said: "We have made real inroads, and now we want to re-engage people with politics and make decisions based on the wishes of the electorate.

"What we are not going to see is a dictatorial Tory regime that tells everyone what to do."

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