Former Council Leader David Pugh has won a leading role in the Isle of Wight Conservatives, after a meeting last night (Thursday).

As the local party’s new Chairman, David Pugh is joined by Vice-Chairman Ray Bloomfield, Deputy Chairman (Political) Joe Robertson and Deputy Chairman (Membership & Fundraising) Wendy Murwill.

They manage the Conservative Association, replacing a team led by Cllr Ian Ward.

Speaking following the meeting, newly elected Chairman David Pugh said:

“The Association plays a crucial role in promoting the Conservative cause here on the Isle of Wight.

“We are fortunate to once again have a Conservative-run local authority and a Conservative MP in support of a Conservative Government. IWCA will continue to support [Isle of Wight Council Leader] Cllr Dave Stewart (and his fellow elected members) and Bob Seely MP as they work hard to deliver improvements for the Island.

“In terms of the Association, the Officers will seek to build on what has been achieved by Ian Ward and his team. We will focus on strengthening our membership and fundraising efforts to ensure we are ready for future campaigns – particularly for local and general elections.”

Current Isle of Wight Council Leader Dave Stewart has tweeted:

“New Conservative Association Officer team elected tonight – all determined to support the IW council leadership and the Islands MP Bob Seely – let’s all do our best for our Island Community.”

Cllr Chris Whitehouse

Mr Pugh’s decision to run for Chairman was condemned by Conservative Isle of Wight Councillor Chris Whitehouse, who wrote last week that if he won it would “divide and could destroy the Island Conservative Association”.

And Councillor Whitehouse wrote that he “would find it impossible to continue to serve as a Conservative.”

David Pugh added today,

“If Cllr Whitehouse wishes to resign from the Conservative Group that is a matter for him. I intend to meet with Cllr Dave Stewart in the near future, and no doubt this matter will be discussed.”

**UPDATE AT 1.34pm

Isle of Wight Council Leader Dave Stewart said,

“I congratulate all the new appointees on their selection.

“We now have a newly invigorated team leading the association and they have all committed to working hard for the party, with the Island’s MP Bob Seely and with myself as leader of the IW Council.  I know they support our council vision for the Island to be an inspirational place to grow up work live and visit.

“Their combined experience covers the public sector the private sector the voluntary sector and of course the political arena.

“Between them they have military expertise, experience in voluntary and charity work, experience in business as well as legal and ethical training. It was time for change and I welcome this opportunity for us all to work together in the future.

“Everyone supports the Conservative values of Respect recently launched by the National Party Chairman so I am reassured about the professional approach that will continue going forward.

“The Island Conservatives are again demonstrating their commitment to our Island and I am pleased with this because it is one of my core values.”

Isle of Wight Radio has contacted Cllr Whitehouse to ask for a comment.