Friday, 11 February 2011

95% of Conservative / Liberal Democrat peers oppose amendment to Keep Cornwall Whole

Printed below is the MK press release that has just gone out concerning the failure of the Cornish amendment in the House of Lords.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has accused the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition of treating Cornwall with absolute contempt.

This follows the debate in the House of Lords on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill which, if left unaltered, would lead to the creation of a Devonwall parliamentary constituency.

An amendment was moved by Lord Teverson to ensure that “all parts of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly must be included in constituencies that are wholly in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
Peers voted down the amendment. It was lost by 250 votes to 221 votes, with 95% of Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers voting against the amendment.

Speaking on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, Deputy Leader Cllr Andrew Long said: “It is unbelievable and truly shocking that so few peers from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties voted to Keep Cornwall Whole.

“During the election, both parties promised that they would stand up for Cornwall. But Cameron and Clegg have devised this Bill which will breach the territorial integrity of Cornwall.

“Coalition MPs refused to support Cornwall when they had the chance and now 95% of Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers have voted to force through the creation of a Devonwall seat.”

The 221 members of the House of Lords who supported the amendment included a single Conservative peer, only 11 Liberal Democrats, 177 Labour members and 32 others.

The 250 members of the House of Lords who opposed the amendment included 153 Conservatives, 63 Liberal Democrats and 34 others.

Cllr Dick Cole, the Leader of Mebyon Kernow who has been involved with the Keep Cornwall Whole campaign, described the vote in the House of Lords as “extremely disappointing.”

“The Keep Cornwall Whole campaign has been truly cross-party, bringing together individuals from across the length and breadth of Cornwall. We have worked together to stand up for the integrity of Cornwall, but we have been let down by Westminster politicians who seem hell-bent on pushing this Bill through.”

Cllr Cole reserved particular criticism for two leading Liberal Democrat peers who had visited Cornwall to speak at events arranged by the Cornish Constitutional Convention in support of the campaign for a Cornish Assembly.

“I am dumbstruck that two Lib Dem peers, with whom I have shared platforms at Cornish Constitutional Convention events voted against Keeping Cornwall Whole.

“I do not understand how they could have the nerve to come to Cornwall to speak in support of greater Cornish self-government, but when given the chance to support Cornwall’s democratic future they stab us in the back.”

Mebyon Kernow is calling on Cornwall’s six MPs to oppose and vote against the Bill when it returns to the House of Commons.

For the record, the Liberal Democrat peers who visited Cornwall were Lord Wallace, the former MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament, in 2001, and Lord German, the former Leader of Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly, last year.

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