The Liberal Democrat candidate for Isle of Wight East, Michael Lilley, will no longer be taking part in the East Wight Primary events.

In a statement, the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats said the party was bound by rules on campaigning and after having sought advice, had decided it could not be represented.

East Wight Primary organisers said they were deeply disappointed 'by this last-minute decision'.

They said the event is registered with the Electoral Commission as a non-party campaign, and publishable advice had been sought at every stage.

"Whatever happens, we will continue to work to bring people together to get the better representation we so desperately need, locally and nationally," they added.

Isle of Wight County Press: The organisers of the East Wight Primary eventThe organisers of the East Wight Primary event (Image: East Wight Primary)

The first of a series of meeting was due to be held on March 11, in Shanklin.

At the next general election, the Isle of Wight will have two constituencies - Isle of Wight East and Isle of Wight West.

Isle of Wight East incorporates Sandown, Shanklin and Ryde and surrounding areas.

A plan to create a 'people's champion' for Isle of Wight East had been welcomed by some candidates and slammed by others.

While supporters called it a 'progressive alliance', trying to defeat the Conservative candidate, the targeted party's parliamentary hopeful, Joe Robertson, called it undemocratic

Commenting to the County Press last week, Michael Lilley, who is the Isle of Wight Councillor for Appley and Elmfield, said: “Rather than seeing the election about getting the Tories out, shouldn’t we be looking at getting a good local MP for East Wight who will tackle issues?"

He said: "Fifty years ago, a good local people’s champion, the late Steve Ross, came from third place to beat the long-standing Conservative MP for the then Liberal Party.

"He fought his campaign on the issues facing Islanders. He had a strong track record.

"I welcome the opportunity to speak to local residents about the issues that matter to them throughout the constituency, as we need an MP who champions their views.

"The East Wight Primary provides an opportunity.”

Candidates already announced for Isle of Wight East are Michael Lilley (Liberal Democrats), Vix Lowthion (Green Party), Sarah Morris (Reform Party), Joe Robertson (Conservatives).

Labour has not yet named a candidate for Isle of Wight East.