Conversations with ferry firms could be on the agenda, Michael Gove said when he visited the Isle of Wight.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was speaking to the media at the Islands Forum in Shanklin today.

He was questioned over connectivity, cost and accountability of the ferry services.

He said connectivity for all islands is the next forum topic, in September or October.

Mr Gove said the ferry service was a vital piece of infrastructure the government "needs to support".

He added: "As we have on the mainland with the railway services, we are prepared to be appropriately tough in demanding accountability from these services.

"If you establish as a private company you are the leader of the provision of these services, there's an obligation to think not just of profit but of the social value for people who use the services."

Mr Gove said the government "stand ready" to look at the ferry services, whether it is a cash injection, conversations with the ferry firms or additional regulation if required.

When asked what progress had been made since Rishi Sunak visited the Island last year, Mr Gove said he didn't want to make any announcements as that was for the Department of Transport to do. 

The main topic at the Islands Forum was improving education.

Mr Gove said IW MP Bob Seely had invited Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, to the Island, and a visit was imminent.

One of the main issues on the Island among children was the relatively poor performance when it comes to reading, compared to the rest of England.

Mr Gove praised Mr Seely's advocacy of the Island, and the investment in the NHS and transport he has achieved as MP.