Elections for those who sit on the Island's town and parish councils, and for Isle of Wight councillors, could be postponed as a result of Covid-19.

Local party members are still preparing for May 6, but many have told the County Press they would prefer a six-month postponement.

If the virus is not under control by May, we could be asked to cast our ballots while adhering to coronavirus restrictions.

Postal voting is being discussed, while others are calling for an early decision by government, to prevent a last minute cancellation.

A decision could be made as early as this week.

At a meeting last night, a question was asked about the latest it could be left - reflectting the huge and 'brilliant' work by the Isle of Wight team who arrange elections.

Isle of Wight Council's Chief Executive John Metcalfe said: "We expect a decision from government sometime this week as to whether elections will go ahead in May and, if they are to be slipped, when they will be slipped to.

"Robert Jenrick [the MHCLG] said at a recent conference he was in dialogue with the Prime Minister and expected a decision sometime this week."

The election of the Isle of Wight's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is already overdue.

The process was suspended just weeks before the May 2020 election, leaving current PCC Michael Lane in the role for another 12 months.

What do members of the political parties on the Isle of Wight think should happen?

Here is what they have been telling the County Press...

Isle of Wight County Press:

David Pugh, Chair of the Isle of Wight Conservative Party

For the Conservative Party, David Pugh said he and fellow party members were planning for May.

He said there would be no need to cancel, if the government's confidence in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine was proved correct.

However he acknowledged the worries surrounding decision day - which could see voters heading out to staffed polling stations across the Island, followed by a count in an enclosed space, involving scores of people.

David Pugh said: “There are understandably concerns that the electoral process could increase the spread of the virus.

"In the meantime, councillors will continue to focus on serving their communities in these challenging times.

"We look forward to offering every Isle of Wight voter the opportunity to elect a Conservative councillor, whenever the Island goes to the polls.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Freshwater parish councillor Vix Lowthion, who heads up the Green Party on the IW

The Green Party is prepared for the May election, said Vix Lowthion.

Candidates for a number of Isle of Wight Council wards have already been announced.

But she is worried about the impact an Isle of Wight-wide vote could have on the coronavirus rate.

Vix Lowthion said the party was equally prepared to postpone until November - for health and safety reasons.

She told the County Press: "We have serious concerns about the high infection rate – especially on the Island right now.

"The health of Islanders must be the first priority of the current Council and future councillors.

"A postponement until the autumn would allow for the vaccination program to be firmly established, and give confidence to residents that it is safe to engage with candidates in our campaign.

"If it has to be postponed by six months in order to tackle the coronavirus crisis effectively, then it is worth the delay.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Richard Quigley has previously tried to become Isle of Wight MP, for the Labour Party

Isle of Wight Labour's Richard Quigley said he would also support the postponement of the elections.

He said: "Whilst it would be a shame, people's safety and well-being is far more important.

"My sincere hope would be that, without the distraction of elections, the government could spend time coming up with a strategy to get us out of lockdown.

"The Labour Party on the Island is happy to work with the Isle of Wight Council, to ensure Islanders are safe and to get help to those that need it."

Isle of Wight County Press:

Nick Stuart is head of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats

Nick Stuart heads up the Liberal Democrats here and is also backing the postponement calls.

Expressing fears for the safety of those who run the campaigns, alongside voters themselves, he told us a May election was unrealistic.

He said: "The current pandemic infection rate, hospitalisations and deaths are stark and tragic, especially here on the Island, where infection rates have gone through the roof.

"The medical and scientific evidence shows that even if we hit the Government’s most optimistic vaccination targets, the real threat to public health will be with us for many months.

"Democratic elections depend on campaigning – voters need to know what the candidates stand for.

"It’s vital the public feel safe to engage with candidates and then go to vote.

"We cannot ask our people to knock on doors, or deliver leaflets...polling stations will need people to staff them, for many hours.

"Even postal voting provides more chances for social interaction and therefore an increased threat of infections."

Isle of Wight County Press:

Former Isle of Wight Council Leader Jonathan Bacon is now from the Our Island party

For Our Island, Jonathan Bacon called for the greater use of postal voting, as he predicted a very different approach to political campaigning this time around.

He said: "We need clarity about this issue now.

"Elections need to take place and while they could be put off for a month or two, as happened in 2009, it is likely they will be fought in a very different way to normal years.

"There are two key issues, which arise from the fact we are going to be subject to social distancing of some sort for a long time yet.

"Firstly, putting systems in place for a greater use and reliance on postal voting, and secondly creating a level playing field for the campaign.

"Old-fashioned door knocking and public meetings are likely not to be possible...it prejudices new groups and particularly new independent candidates, who have already been restricted in their ability to get themselves known in the last year."

He backs a short postponement, but says too long a delay would be detrimental.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Ex IW Councillor and parliamentary candidate, Daryll Pitcher from the Vectis Party

For the Vectis Party, Daryll Pitcher said a decision on the future of the May elections must be made by early March - to provide enough time for organisation and campaigning.

He, too, fears that smaller, newer parties will be hit, if voting goes ahead with coronavirus restrictions.

He told the County Press: "If there is a chance that restrictions will be in place during the campaign, it is difficult to see the elections going ahead.

"If May is not possible, then it is unlikely things will be cleared up for an election in June or July.

"A six month postponement, until November, would make most sense as, by then, we will know of the effectiveness of the vaccine and life should be returning to some sort of normality.

"Whenever the elections are held the Vectis Party will be ready to fight them."

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight won't vote for a new MP until at least 2024 - and when the polls do open, there will be two people instead of one vying for seats at Westminster.