Isle of Wight councillor, Michael Murwill has left the Island Conservative Association.
Cllr Murwill was elected as the Conservative councillor for Brading, St Helens and Bembridge in May 2017, but at the end of last week he left the Island Conservatives and is now listed as Independent on the Isle of Wight council’s Website.
Murwill: “I had no alternative”
News OnTheWight spoke with Cllr Murwill this afternoon, who explained that following an Approval Committee meeting held by the Island Conservative Association last week to approve candidates for the May 2021 election, the Committee voted against him being able to stand.
He said that following the committee’s decision, he couldn’t remain with the Island Conservatives. Cllr Murwill told News OnTheWight,
“I’m disappointed to be leaving the Conservatives – in this situation I had no alternative based on the way the selection process was handled.”
Cllr Murwill said that no reason was given to him as to why he’d not been approved to stand on behalf of the Conservatives elections and that he’s unable to appeal the decision.
Could be other councillors missing
News OnTheWight spoke with Chair of the Island Conservative Association, David Pugh.
The Approvals Committee is made up of seven branch chairs, association officers, etc and chaired by David Pugh, who told us that after the interview, a secret ballot was held and Cllr Murwill did not receive enough votes. He said,
“Cllr Murwill has represented the Party at County Hall since 2017.
“We had hoped he would continue to serve as a Conservative councillor until the next election, but obviously he’s taken the decision to leave and that’s a matter for him. We wish him well for the future.”
When News OnTheWight asked David Pugh how many more current Isle of Wight councillors didn’t pass approval, he declined to give numbers. When pushed on if there could be current serving councillors that will not make it, he said, “the vast majority were approved”.
That decision came under fire from Independent Labour councillor, Geoff Brodie. However, fellow councillor for the area, Cllr Brian Tyndall (who has since become a Cabinet member), said at the time that his ward was still being properly represented and there had been no complaints about Cllr Murwill’s absence.
Cllr Murwill told News OnTheWight,
“I do want to clarify regarding my brief and unexpected ill health absence in 2019. Despite reports to the contrary, although councillors voted for me to have a maximum twelve-month period of absence; I was absent from Council commitments and back working as a ward councillor in less than six months.”
Cllr Murwill’s departure leaves the Conservatives with 24 councillors.
8.40am 3rd Sep 2020 – Clarifying statement on absence from MM added