Isle of Wight council by-election after the Conservatives left

The former Conservative group leader on Isle of Wight Council has resigned as an adviser after being “disillusioned with politics and politicians, nationally and locally”.

Steve Hastings, the former ward councilor for Brightstone, Calbourne and Shalfleet, said he no longer believed in the Conservative Party.

A by-election will be held to find his successor.

In a statement, Mr Hastings said the past two turbulent years in politics – including Partygate and scandals involving Tory MPs Owen Patterson, Chris Pincher and Imran Ahmed Khan – have been followed by a lack of governance due to of a long leadership campaign and the “farce” that has engulfed the leadership since has led to him becoming disillusioned with politics and politicians.

He said he thinks if you fly a flag you have to believe in what it stands for, and he can no longer believe in the Conservative flag under which he was elected.

Mr Hastings said: ‘I don’t wish to change the flag or go against the wishes of the electorate who wanted a Tory in the last election so I feel I have no choice but to resign from the Isle of Wight Council.”

Mr Hastings served on Isle of Wight Council after being elected for the Central Borough of Wight in a by-election in 2018 following the resignation of Bob Seely to become an MP.

In the 2021 election, Mr Hastings retained his seat with a majority of 170 votes.

After last year’s election, Mr Hastings became group leader of the Conservative group at County Hall when then-leader Dave Stewart lost his seat.

Failing to secure the majority of seats needed, the Conservative group tried to take control of County Hall but lost to the Alliance group.

A period of illness, however, saw Mr Hastings resign as group leader seven months later to make way for Cllr Joe Robertson.

He recovered to continue his role on the board.

Today, almost five years after joining the Isle of Wight Council, Mr Hastings has stepped down.

A by-election, he said, will give residents the chance to decide again who they want to represent them.

Mr Hastings said it was a privilege and an honor to have represented his residents and thanked them for the opportunity to do so.

He said it was a pleasure to work alongside the members of the Conservative group, which consists of many hardworking and committed men and women, and he wished them well for the future.