Isle of Wight council leader and deputy resign

The Leader and deputy leader of Isle of Wight council have resigned. Here are their words in full.

Bacon and Stubbings

This in from Jonathan Bacon on behalf of himself and deputy leader Steve Stubbings. Ed

Statement by Jonathan Bacon and Steve Stubbings, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Isle of Wight Council.

Jonathan Bacon said:

“Over the past six years the Government has imposed austerity measures which have forced many Local Authorities, including the Isle of Wight Council, to impose severe cuts on services to the serious detriment of their residents, for many of whom these services are essential for their lives.

“Due to the unique nature of the Isle of Wight these cuts have had a more severe impact on the Island than elsewhere as a result of which the Independent Administration has continually requested the Conservative Government to recognise that unique situation and the particular pressures the Isle of Wight faces.

“They have continually failed to do so and it seems apparent that the Government has no wish or intent to help this Island. Rather they wish to impose the burdens of their failures in relation to supporting health and welfare on local authorities and Council Tax payers rather than address the issues themselves.”

Stubbings: “Forced into a corner”
Steve Stubbings said:

“The Isle of Wight Council has been forced into a corner where, with the best will in the world, the opportunity for anyone with even a modicum of compassion and concern for residents to do anything to address issues that need to be dealt with is pretty much impossible in the face of the cuts that have been and which continue to be imposed.

“In addition to those bare faced cuts, in areas where it has been suggested more money is being given to us, if one looks closely, it is found that equal or greater sums are being taken away elsewhere.

“When a stand has been taken, as with the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (for health and social care), the response received was that such action may prejudice other funding – essentially a form of blackmail.”

Bacon: “Party Politics and Ego” being put before Island issues
Jonathan Bacon added:

“While it is difficult enough to deal with this situation, it becomes even more difficult when many of those charged with that duty would rather play political games than take on that responsibility. Personally, and as part of the Independent Group, I came on to this Council on a ‘ticket’ of ‘People Before Politics’.

“However I am of the firm opinion that we now have a situation amongst elected members where Party Politics and Ego are being put before the concerns and issues of Island people. Elsewhere in the Chamber this has been the case for a long time, however I am sad to say that I think this has now crept into the Independent Group where there is a small element who are now more focussed in that way.”

“Self-centred, bickering, power seeking” politicians
He went on to say,

“The situation is such that to my mind there is no longer in the Chamber a sufficient number of members who are willing or able to address the real problems faced by the Council and the Island and, accordingly, there are not sufficient members across the council who are supportive of me or my approach.

“Instead we have a majority who would rather play games and fit into the negative stereotype of the self-centred, bickering, power seeking politician, or simply act at the behest of their party leadership, rather than take responsibility for the work that needs to be done to fight the brickbats of Central Government.”

Steve Stubbings added:

“I agree with Jonathan. We are now in situation where the need to work together for the common cause of Isle of Wight residents against the effects of the Government’s Austerity Programme is greater than ever, however this is overwhelmed by the inability or unwillingness of many elected members within the Isle of Wight Council to take that approach, damaging the interests of both the Council and the people of the Isle of Wight.”

Positions as Leader and Deputy Leader untenable and intolerable
Jonathan Bacon concluded:

“Steve and I have done our best to lead the Council through the difficulties it faces, but, in the face of the unwillingness of Government to lift a finger to help and the preference for too many elected members to act negatively rather than try and help, we are of the view that our positions as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council are now untenable and, perhaps more pertinently, intolerable.

“Therefore with apologies to all those who have worked, whether with us or otherwise, to address the problems the Island faces, we are resigning from the Leadership roles of the Isle of Wight Council and the Council Executive.”

Steve Stubbings concluded:

“We note, in closing, that there is an election coming up in four months. This heartens us for two reasons. Firstly, whoever takes over now is, we hope, unlikely to do anything unduly adverse to the Island in the coming weeks as they will be thinking mostly about winning votes at that election and, secondly, the public can shortly decide what sort of Council they want and whether they are happy to continue with a Council where members will just toe a party line, bluster and argue for the sake of it, allowing austerity to continue unchecked, or choose Councillors who are willing and able to work together as I hope we have always done, in order to move away from such damaging behaviour and support the Island we and many others love.”

The Council’s CEO John Metcalfe, responded with details of what happens next.

Image: © Simon Haytack

Monday, 16th January, 2017 9:48am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

76 Comments on "Isle of Wight council leader and deputy resign"

newest oldest most voted

Oh bl**dy hell. This is the worst news since Brexit and Trump.

Jonathan and Steve, bless you for all you have done and tried to do.

I only hope you are right that the self-seeking narcissistic rabble you have left behind won’t be able to do too much harm before the election.

Niton Wight Satin

I’m amazed that they’ve stuck it for this long. The Conservative have had the ability to take power at County Hall for ages, yet they’ve not chosen to take the initiative and lead, instead just snipe from the sidelines. Cowardly in my mind.

billy builder
It’s very easy to snipe from the sidelines rather than rolling your sleeves up and tackling the real issues. Jonathan Bacon and Steve Stubbins have tried to do the best for the island despite the Tories and others undermining them at every turn. Unfortunately due to the loathsome attitude of those Tory/Ukip councilors some of the best independent councils are unlikely to stand in May, God help… Read more »
Whilst I have some very strong different views to those of Cllr Bacon, the Independent administration has done a bl**dy great job of trying to figure out how to work with the ever decreasing amounts of funding they’ve had passed to them by central government. Resigning four months before the election is an interesting strategy – it will be fascinating to see who steps up to do… Read more »
steve stubbings

Both Jonathan and I are still Isle of Wight councillors, we remain responsible to the people who elected us. If you had bothered to read the statement in full you would have seen that we have stepped down from the executive. I assume you couldn’t wait to see what you were going to say about it all.

Accepting there are by definition problems in persuading independently minded people always to agree, I want to thank Jonathan, Gordon (both of whom I know) and Steve (who I don’t) for their efforts in trying to keep the island afloat. Despite some of the snide and stupid comments levelled here against them, and the high jacking of the debate by fixed link fanatics who on this occasion… Read more »
Janet Scott

Darcy, I didn’t like the tone of your last sentence. It has already been explained that the bit of the system that gives you that opportunity has broken. It will cost £500 to fix. OTW don’t have that money.
Please don’t be angry with them.

@ Janet. Sorry, I had no idea that was the problem. I’ve had a bit of a sabbatical from posting and recently searched for an arrow explanation but found nothing. The only people I’m angry with are those who now deny us our democratic voice by neutering our elected representatives. Quite frankly, there is now little point in voting for any local Councillors if they are denied… Read more »
Janet Scott

Thank you, understood.

Sally Perry

“Yet another means of expression now denied to us”
Yet another? Do tell, what other means of expression has been denied?

Hi Sally. My apologies. I hadn’t realised you’d had a technical problem as I haven’t posted for a while. I’ve also given Janet an explanation. The answer to your question is also in my reply to Janet, namely the government’s treatment of local authorities whose opinions are repeatedly ignored. As I say, there is little point in electing local representatives if they are repeatedly being denied to… Read more »
Janet Scott

‘ Arrow up ‘

Sally Perry

Thanks for explaining Darcy – we’d already been accused of something earlier in the day that was untrue, so I was curious as to what appeared to be another accusation. Glad you cleared it up.
The voting system is something we are looking at, but not able to resolve at the moment.

I’m so sorry to see you go, Jonathan and Steve, but understand how frustrating it must have been for you, both in constantly trying to get the government to listen and in having to endure petty party political wrangles in the Council Chamber and elsewhere. Why aren’t our councillors united in the campaign to save the Island from ever greater austerity? You may think this idea over… Read more »
Its amazing two guys doing their best. They may not have got it right. What dealings I have had with them they came across as having people at the heart of things. It is a shame that people on the island dont get angry about where the cuts are really coming from. Silence from our Mp who has double standards votes for cuts then wonders why the… Read more »

“The situation is such that to my mind there is no longer in the Chamber a sufficient number of members who are willing or able to address the real problems faced by the Council and the Island”

Pots and kettles Jonathan


Ever tried to do or say anything construcctive, Tim?




trying and very ?

Carl Feeney
I would like to comment on this article. However, the onthewight team (Simon and Sally) have made it perfectly clear that anything to do with an IOW Fixed Link on these threads is unacceptable, even though there is a direct correlation between the subject post and the fixed Link subject …. to the extent that my last comment on this forum was removed by them. This is… Read more »
Mason Watch

No it is not. The subject of the fixed link is in Fantasy land but every thread is constantly clogged up with reference to how whatever is being discussed affects something to do with the non existent project. Editors, please continue to edit…..


At first I found your constant posting about this annoying.

Now I just feel embarrassed for you.


Carl, I’m basically pro a fixed link and a member of your facebook group, but you’re not helping the cause with constant posting. I don’t think anyone else is being persuaded and a lot of people are just getting annoyed by the posts. Not every story is to do with it (though I know you’ll find a slant). Time for a new approach?

Apparently Jonathan Bacon would only consider solutions that didn’t compromise his own personal prejudices. Ignoring the fixed link issue and the new feasibility study in particular leaves the island in limbo, we need to know where we stand, hopefully the study will resolve things sufficiently to move the island into a more prosperous future, whatever the outcome. I hope that Sally & Simon will see the value… Read more »

Aha, a disciple or manifestation of our Lord and Saviour, Carl Feeney!

And lo as it as written, ‘Let there be a link,’ and there was a link. Carl saw that the link was good, and he joined the Wight to the Britain’…

Hands up who thinks this lot now sound like a cult? Delusional doesn’t seem a strong enough word.

Mason Watch
There is only value in comment when it is the subject under discussion – a fact that Mr Feeney appears to be struggling to grasp. On The Wight are entirely within their rights to deal with it in this manner and to make a comment that this is “a manipulation of perceived public opinion by news media, which has throughout the island’s history caused it great harm”… Read more »
Maritime Man

I hope that Simon and Sally do leave Carl et al’s comments here.
Not because I agree with them, but because they have made themselves look really foolish (Carl etc not S&S).
Get the message Carl, the readers of this site don’t want to have to keep wading through FL comments to get to the discussion about the subject of an article.
We’ve had enough of it!

retired hack

Agreed. It’s at times like this that I really miss the green and red arrows.

Media Mite

Yes I have noted that comments that ‘don’t fit’ with the reported subject are often deleted. I thought the idea of making opinionated comments was to get an overall view and not a one sided view as it seems here. A case of comment what I would like you to or I will delete!!


I hope not !


Why don’t you lobby the Tories to take this on Carl ? I’m sure that it will be an election winner.

How the hell has Councillors stepping down got anything whatsoever to do with your desire for a fixed link??? Surely schools, hospitals and social care come first. A lack of funding is the issue, and using any of our money to put in a link which I feel would change the character of the Island detrimentally is not the answer. Stop assuming that everything is about you… Read more »
Simon Perry
Carl – of course we have not banned discussions about the Fixed link. As you know, what we have asked (several times – in person to you and via email) is for you and your Fixed link colleagues to not bring the Fixed link in to comments on news stories that are not directly about the Fixed link. This ‘Don’t go off topic’ rule is consistent for… Read more »

Why is it every time something happens on the island, Carl Feeney blames the lack of a fixed link. Here I was thinking it was the governments austerity measures …. anyway thank you Cllr Bacon and Stubbings for at least trying to make a difference.


Austerity or not but if the fixed link comes to fruition it will involve large amount of Govt. funds being poured into the island…and that is just whilst it is being constructed

Tim Why do we deserve anymore funding than elsewhere? We are no where near the bottom of the pit to deserve special attention, if I was living in a rural community elsewhere in the UK and saw the kind of money being talked about for a F/L and the extra cost of maintaining it and attributed rd infrastructure, I would be asking when is the money coming… Read more »
Richard, the Govt. are looking for large infrastructure projects to boost the economy as a whole. Essex/Kent and Trans Pennine tunnels are also in the pipeline, as well cross Solent and of course hs2. But we really do need a bona fide feasibility study to deal with all the issues, good and bad, whatever the outcome. Doing nothing is just not an option, as Steve and Jonathan… Read more »
Barry Bridges

This is a victory for our fixed link campaign! Without people like Carl there would be zero chance of this island doing well. He is a visionary who is on the same line as people like Isambard Kingdom Brunel and people laughed at him first. Keep it up Carl we know that your efforts have led to this and we back you!

The government plans for austerity and its cost to the Ilsand were well known before the Independent ‘group’ took power on the Island. They new full well what they were getting into and have dithered and procastinated, . Leaving 4 months before an election to replace them is an act of cowardice. They have handed the council back to the Tories who did a far worse job… Read more »
the spy

nice to see bj back must be election time

The IWC have been backed into a corner by the governments austerity cuts. Although I was initially a supporter of that policy, the government has gone too far and it has been known for some time that Adult social care costs were going to exceed income next financial year on the Island. Whilst not always agreeing with the direction the IWC have taken, I feel that the… Read more »
A perfect example of the troubles faced by 2 hard working guys who have tried their very best! We lose our council and once again the thread is hijacked, something that has made me change my mind about a FL.. If folk are so desperate that they destroy a thread using convoluted reasoning then I want nothing to do with whatever they are spouting! As for the… Read more »
Terry Carpenter
We are all on a sinking ship, captain Bacon sought assistance, but the Admiralty recommended him to sell all the lifeboats. Other advice was to sell the church bells to pay for a new bell tower.The blame for our problems resides squarely in the hands of the Tory Government. Their constant and relentless cuts to funding will make us a wasted sacrifice to the false God of… Read more »
Carl Feeney
To those who are the (usual two or three) people disagreeing that the Fixed Link will provide the fundamental foundations for 24hr, fast and easy cross Solent transport to provide success for the islands future …… what alternative ideas do you have? I suggest you have none…. Jonathan Bacon has resisted any personal discussion and council debate on this issue during his tenure as leader of the… Read more »

Broken record?


Carl why don’t you stand for election and test the popular support for your proposal ?

Carl; not sure when you arrived on the Island but you are regenerating old ideas yourself. The fixed link crops up every few years and has done for a long time. In case you hadn’t noticed the country and the IWC hasn’t got any money and if it had, there are far more pressing concerns than a fixed link. Your attempts to hijack interesting threads have become… Read more »
Simon Cooke

New ideas would certainly be welcome, but the fixed link is anything but. As Colin says, those of us who have been here a long time see it surface now and again. Only the other day I was looking at a glossy leaflet produced by an anti-fixed group from 1999 (AFLAG, if I recall correctly).

Do you know at one stage I may have been interested in learning more about the fixed link – but now I’m fed up of it being shoved in my face the second something doesn’t go quite to plan on the Island, and I would gladly cut my nose to spite my face at the moment and forget the whole thing if it stopped posts constantly being… Read more »

All we need now is for Billy to mention brexit…


See Carl, your figures never add up. It’s not just two or three; so far six and counting…

Barry Bridges

you cannot back that claim up. Carl has nothing to gain from doing this from us all and the island should be grateful we have somebody so wise and intelligent to take us into the 20th century!


Well why doesn’t he stand on that basis then ?….because it’s political suicide, that’s why. Whatever my, or anyone else’s views on this, it is not a vote winner. Please can we stick to the topic. I am sorry to see these people go but I understand why…In my opinion, they did the best they could as did Stephens and Jordan.

The bottom line here is central government policy which is to starve us all into accepting that privatisation of everything is the answer. As long as we have a political class in Westminster who think they are above the law, who take office to serve private interests and who are desperately out of tune with their electorate, we have no hope. Cllrs Bacon, Stubbings and a few… Read more »
Woody from the Wight
I’m a regular reader of your articles Onthewight, thank you for your coverage of local news. Thanks too to the Councillors who have tried to lead in a difficult situation and time. My main reason for signing in with my first ever post though… was to ask Carl and his cronies to shut up! Please shut up? Pretty please? If you are trying to highlight an issue… Read more »
Black Dog
Clearly there are issues within this administration First we have the ex leader resign from the executive then we have Messrs Bacon and Stubbings stepping down. Question. Have they just stepped down as Leader and Deputy Leader? Or have they stepped down from the executive as well? Has there been a power struggle within the administration/executive that has resulted in this and the previous resignation of the… Read more »
Simon Cooke

It is right there in the article:

“… we are resigning from the Leadership roles of the Isle of Wight Council and the Council Executive.”

Steve has already stated he won’t be standing again.

Simon Cooke

“Perhaps one of the above has just found out who intends to run against him next May?”


Black Dog

wightgeek – No not Mr Feeney. I understand the person is well known in Bembridge and apparently a true Independent

Simon Cooke

I somehow doubt this was foremost in Cllr Bacon’s reason for resigning whoever the masked crusader is!

In what way do you think JB is not a true Independent?

Black Dog

Showing your nicer side Mr Stubbings? Are you saying that you remain members of the executive or are you just Councillors representing your wards?

steve stubbings

I’m saying that we are no longer executive members, as is clearly stated in the article and subsequently by wightgeek and by me in the comments.
I hope that helps.

Simon Cooke

You can call me Simon – and I guess I’ll never get that favour you guys owe me now then…!

Alan Price

No longer an executive member because the going got too tough and you couldnt hack it?

Simon Cooke

Yeah, come on Steve.

What exactly do you mean from ‘resign from the executive’. It’s a bit ambiguous.

steve stubbings

:-) Yeah. I’m sorry. I’ll see what we can do to clarify that.


last one out please turn off the lights…
it will reduce the power bills they can’t afford to pay…

Mr Justice

Publicity stunt? Maybe they’ll be standing again on Wednesday night?

Ali Hayden.
Having just attended the Budget Consultation meeting at Medina Theatre it is clear to see by the intended cuts to Local Services that our elderly + vulnerable residents are the ones who are being, + will continue to be hit the hardest by the cuts imposed by Central Government. Cuts to services they weren’t implemented last year will certainly be implemented this coming financial year. This public… Read more »
I don’t think it’s that people don’t care. They see that whatever evidence of hardship or lack of funds is presented to Government, nothing happens. Government is not listening because it has abandoned the island, probably because it costs too much – too many ‘old’ people, too many people on benefits, not enough high earners, falling tourist numbers, low productivity and not enough private investment. The prospect… Read more »

So where is the local grandee MP in all this fighting for the islands special status?

Nope just making sure he is the only one on the payroll

The tories in Westminster have been wanting to neuter the councils for years going right back to the Thatcher years. Whilst the tories may be in power in Westminster, many of the councils were not run by the tories and seen as undermining national policy. Some of the more exrememe labour controlled councils left a lot to be desired. So austerity has been used as a way… Read more »
I am a new resident on the Isle of Wight although not new to the way things appear to be run as my family have lived here for the last 35 years. What astounds me is the lethargy surrounding the local elections. I have seen nothing apart from a couple of leaflets put quietly through my front door. Coming from an area where election campaigns start long… Read more »
Stewart Blackmore

Sarah, the Labour Party has been canvassing and leafletting since the New Year and well before the candidates were announced officially last week.

I don’t know about the other parties but we have certainly been out there working very hard in putting our policies and messages across to Island voters.


However, I haven’t received anything through my letterbox other than the Green Party! Maybe it’s because I’m at the top of the hill!

Mrs Retired Hack

We’ve received no campaign literature at all. Last council election we received just one Conservative one..Good job there’s the internet (and OTW!)