WITH the future ruling groups undecided for the Isle of Wight Council, following the loss of the Conservative lead, MP Bob Seely has congratulated, and commiserated, candidates.

Speaking after the local election results were announced last night, the Conservative MP, who was at the count supporting candidates, thanked council officers who helped the election and count.

Due to Covid, more restrictions were in place this year which meant there were not as many ballot counters and a lot more safety measures.

Overall, the once-ruling Conservative party of the Isle of Wight Council, lost seven seats but won four back, still, however not making a majority party.

The Conservatives have 18 seats with 13 Independent, two Green, two Island Independent Network, one Labour, one Our Island, one Lib Dem and one Vectis Party councillors all now filling County Hall.

No group has enough seats to form a majority so a way ahead is being worked out between the parties, thought to be in the form of a coalition.

More than a third of councillors who won in Thursday's election (May 6) are new candidates to the council, but some are familiar faces — including former council leader Jonathan Bacon and Labour Parliamentary hopeful Richard Quigley.

Mr Seely congratulated winners and wished them well in representing their residents but also commiserated those who lost.

He said: "I thank them for wanting to contribute to public life on the Island and encourage them to remain engaged."

One shock result of the night was the downfall of the leader of the Conservative party, and the council, Dave Stewart who lost his seat, Chale, Niton and Shorwell, to Green candidate Claire Critichson by 240 votes.

Mr Seely thanked Mr Stewart for his leadership and wished him well for the future.

He said: "After a chaotic period under the control of independents, Dave helped to bring stability to the Council. We need to keep that stability going.

“Whilst Conservatives have lost some council seats, they remain the largest party on the Council. I hope they are able to find and form a working majority.

"Whatever coalition is chosen, the Island needs stability and leadership, as well as a common vision that we can work together to achieve."

Mr Seely said he will be writing to all Isle of Wight Councillors in the next week to congratulate them but also to 'outline a common agenda' he believes elected leaders of the Island should be working towards.

Also congratulating councillors on town, parish and community councils across the Island who have been, and who will be, elected, Mr Seely said those councils are at the heart of local communities.

He said: "I look forward to working with all the Island’s councillors for the good of all Islanders.”

Islanders also voted for their local councils on Thursday and the results are expected to be announced later today, anywhere from 3.30pm.