Isle Of Wight’s Island Independent Group Leadership Shake-Up

Julia Baker-Smith, outgoing Leader of Island Independents

Cllr Ian Stephens is to take control of the Island Independent Group, as Cllr Julia Baker-Smith steps aside.

He founded of the group and is a former leader of the Isle of Wight Council.
Cllr Shirley Smart will now take on the role of deputy group leader.
Island councillors recently took a 20% pay cut, said Cllr Baker Smith, giving them an average of £7,500 a year. She says it does not ensure gender balance and equality, and leads to councils being run by those who can afford the time away from work, or are already retired.
Cllr Julia Baker-Smith, who is stepping down as leader of the group said:
“I have decided to step down as leader of the independent group to focus on my ward and my family. Group leader is an unpaid position and as a working age mum I have been juggling competing priorities.
“I need to prioritise my time to ensure I can provide for my children while giving the time and attention to my ward work that Whippingham and Osborne residents deserve.

“I feel that Cllr Stephens will be better placed to give the time and focus required to effectively scrutinise and challenge the administration’s emerging policies.”