LABOUR candidate Richard Quigley has criticised the 'back-room deal' that saw the Liberal Democrats withdraw from running in the General Election for the Isle of Wight.

Following a national pact between the Green Party and Lib Dems, Nick Stuart stepped aside and encouraged people to vote for Vix Lowthion instead.

Mr Quigley said: "I do feel sorry for those Islanders who wanted to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

"I don't believe back-room deals like this have much to do with democracy.

"In an election, it's the job of parties to set out their policies, and to seek to win majority support.

"That's what I'll be doing over the next five weeks, and I believe I can convince a majority of Islanders to back me and the policies I represent.

"I don't think back-room deals like this, which effectively disenfranchise voters, are really very democratic."

He also question the principle, as he said the two parties had distinctive, different policies, but "will abandon those in favour of trying to make this election about the single issue of Brexit."

Mr Quigley said: "This election is about so much more than Brexit. It has to be.

"It's about our public services, our standard of living and the pressing climate crisis.

"It's about what sort of country we want our children to grow up in.

"To ignore all that and reduce it to a single issue is a failure of democratic responsibility.

"Ultimately, however, the Labour Party received more votes on the Island in 2017 than the Lib Dem and Green votes combined, so this won't alter the fundamental fact that this election will be decided between Labour and the Tories here.

"The minor parties are really just re-arranging deckchairs on their electoral Titanic.

"As my opponent Bob Seely has already recognised, this election, nationally and here on the Island, is a contest between the Labour and Conservative visions for our country.

"Whatever people have voted for in the past, I urge them to look at Labour's manifesto and make a choice based on the policies they see there.

"That's democracy as I understand it."