SO, A second successive Conservative leader has lost their seat at the local elections after failing to deliver on outlandish promises made about improving our schools.

Dave Stewart’s shock defeat to Green candidate, Claire Critchison for the Chale/Niton/Shorwell seat mirrors the events of 2013, when the previous Tory leader, David Pugh, lost his seat in Shanklin.

Aside from Stewart’s defeat, it was a fairly good result for the Tories, returning 18 councillors from the 39 seats being contested, but that is two short of having an overall majority.

The Green Party managed to get two of their candidates elected while the other ‘major’ parties, Labour and the Lib Dems, managed to muster one councillor each, but to me, it would seem all four of those councillors were elected on personal popularity and not because of the parties they represent.

Labour and the Lib Dems have completely lost their identities nationally; with no one really knowing what they stand for or who they represent, so the election of Richard Quigley (Labour) in Cowes was all about him and not his party and likewise for the very likeable, Andrew Garrett (Lib Dem) in Parkhurst.

The other 17 councillors elected were independents, although former council leader, Jonathan Bacon is an independent under the banner of the Our Island group, and Daryll Pitcher under the banner of the Vectis Party.

Without an overall majority, the Tories aren’t able to form the local government, but new leader, Steve Hastings has apparently wasted no time in contacting all the opposition councillors in an attempt to either get them to join the Conservative party or form an alliance.

Mr Hastings and his fellow Conservatives will feel they have the right to take control, but the majority of the 41,000 people on the Island who voted have shown that they don’t want a Conservative-run council, and if you add in the 70,000 who didn’t vote at all, there can be no denying that the people of the IW have no appetite for a Tory council whatsoever, so in the interests of democracy, the 17 independents should get together to form the council under a ‘One Island’ banner, and should invite the two Greens plus Quigley and Garrett to join them, leaving the Tories as the opposition party.

The question is, which independent has the ability, the guile and the negotiating skills to pull this off and form a united council? For me the person most capable of making such a thing happen is Lora Peacey-Wilcox. Lora is a former chairperson of the council and has the aforementioned qualities needed to pull things together and head the council.

The new councillors meet for the first time next week, to formally elect a leader. Will Hastings have done enough behind the scenes schmoozing to return a predominately Tory council, or will someone like Peacey-Wilcox pull together the independents? We’ll find out very soon.