Councillor resigns to run for island seat

Steve Hastings when he won the Baffins seat for Ukip in 2014. He later joined the Tories
Steve Hastings when he won the Baffins seat for Ukip in 2014. He later joined the Tories
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A CITY councillor has resigned his seat, and has been selected as a candidate for a seat on Isle of Wight Council.

Stephen Hastings has left his position as councillor for Baffins ward.

A Portsmouth City Council spokesman confirmed his resignation, but said there would not be a by-election for the seat because there is less than six months to go until the seat is contested in the local elections on May 3, 2018.

Mr Hastings, who lives in Brighstone on the Isle of Wight, has been named as a candidate for the Central Wight seat on the Isle of Wight Council.

The by-election will take place next month.

Mr Hastings was first elected to represent the Baffins ward as a Ukip candidate in 2014, but has since joined the Conservative party.

In April he stood for the Newport Central seat on Isle of Wight Council, leading a Bffins ward campaigner to dub him a ‘phantom councillor’.

In a joint statement, Baffins councillors Darren Sanders and Lynne Stagg said: ‘We are not altogether surprised to hear of the resignation of our fellow Conservative councillor for the area, but disappointed that he has resigned too late to hold another election to find a replacement, leaving the area with only two councillors.’

Mr Hastings said: ‘It has been a privilege to represent the residents of Baffins on Portsmouth City Council since 2014.

‘Due to a change in family circumstances in 2016, my wife and I relocated to the Isle of Wight. However due to a 10-minute hovercraft connection I have still been able to regularly participate in council meetings and undertake my ward work.

‘Due to my increasing involvement in the community on the Island – including local politics – I have decided that now is the right time to step down as a councillor for Baffins. I have written to the chief executive to tender my resignation with immediate effect.

‘As my term of office is due to end in May 2018, the seat will remain vacant until then (with the other two ward members continuing in place). This results in a saving for city, both in terms of the councillor allowance for the remaining period and the costs of the by-election, which would have been triggered by an earlier resignation.

‘It has been a pleasure to work alongside officers and members from all parties for the past three and a half years and I wish them all well.’