Government in Great Britain is provided in two ways.

At a national level, the country is divided into 659 Parliamentary Constituencies and voters in each area elect a Member of Parliament to sit in the House of Commons and represent them. The Isle of Wight is currently represented by Andrew Turner.

At a local level, the country is divided into a series of local authorities or councils and voters in each area elect people to sit on the council and represent them.

The Isle of Wight Council is made of 39 areas, which are known as wards. 38 return a single representative to the Council, and 1 (Brading, St Helens and Bembridge) returns 2 representatives. Those elected make up the Members of the Council and are therefore often known as Members as well as Councillors.

The people who stand for election as Councillors may belong to one of the national political parties or to a local political party, or they may be completely independent of a political party.

The new council (4th June 2009) has 40 elected councillors. The political make-up is:
  • 25 Conservative
  • 9 Independent
  • 4 Liberal Democrat
  • 1 Labour
  • 1 Other

If more than half of the people on a council belong to a particular political party, that party is referred to as the majority party and its leader or its nominated representative is known as the Leader of the Council.

If none of the political parties has an overall majority, the Council is known as a hung council and the Leader is usually, but not always, nominated by party with the largest number of Members.

Page last updated on: 01/03/2012