Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Cornwall at Twickenham

What a great weekend.

Cornwall may have lost in the Twickenham final, but it was great to see so many people making the trip to give our rugby heroes their full and passionate backing.

It was also good to see so many friends there as well, including some of my fellow bloggers – see the picture below for Rob Simmons and Stephen Richardson.

I am already looking forward to next year’s championship, when hopefully Cornwall can go one better.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The first full meeting of the new Cornwall Council

The first full meeting of Cornwall Council took place today and Independent councillor John Pollard (above) from Hayle was elected leader of the authority. He will lead a joint Independent and Liberal Democrat Cabinet of ten members, split equally between the two groups.

There were discussions between the Conservative, Independent and Liberal Democrat groups about the possibility of a “rainbow” or “one and all” administration. These negotiations were not necessarily as reported in the press, and ended up being quite fractious.

Last week, the Independents and Liberal Democrats offered the Conservatives two seats on the Cabinet, which were not accepted. Late in the week, the Independents and Liberal Democrats then offered these two remaining places to Labour and MK, in what appeared to be an effort to have a broader Executive.

The offer was made at about 4.00 on Friday, with a request to consider the option over the ensuing weekend. But unfortunately, within an hour, it was being misreported in the local media that a deal had actually already been done.

This was not the case. The Labour group declined the offer which meant that a wider administration was not possible, and at a meeting of the MK group on Sunday, we decided that it would not be appropriate to seek MK representation on an Executive containing only two other groups.

The MK group has prepared a statement about the new administration and our approach to Cornwall Council over the next four years. The statement is as follows:

“The Mebyon Kernow group is disappointed that the three main groups on the Council (Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Independent) were unable to agree an administration, that would have been able to work collectively for the betterment of Cornwall.

“From an MK perspective, this could have meant the whole council coming together to challenge the disproportionate level of central government cuts to local government, in general, and to Cornwall Council, in particular.

“In these difficult times, it remains our view that all groups on the authority must work together constructively. It cannot be right to put political self-interest ahead of what is best for Cornwall.

“Though we will not be part of the Independent / Liberal Democrat administration, the MK councillors on Cornwall Council are committed to working with one and all, to seek a better deal for our communities.

“We look forward to engaging positively with the administration on a range of issues and on policy development and to ensure greater transparency in decision-making.”

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Well done Cornwall

This weekend, it was great to take a break from viewing the political shenanigans at County Hall.

I was delighted to be one of the three thousand people at the Recreation Ground in Camborne, watching Cornwall beat Hertfordshire by 41 points to 29 to secure a place in this weekend’s Twickenham final.  

The players were magnificent and played their hearts out.

As a supporter of Redruth, the sixth and final try was truly amazing with the move involving five Reds.

Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow rifled the ball out to Lock Damian Cook who flew down the wing, before throwing it back inside to prop Craig Williams who in turn passed to the other prop Darren Jacques. With a powerful turn of speed, Darren almost made it to the try-line, where Redruth flyhalf was on hand to dive over to score.

To see great photographs, such as the one above, visit the Cornish rugby updates page on Facebook.

Well done lads. And roll on Twickenham. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Mayor, Mayor and Deputy Mayor

Well done to Mike Champion, Phil Rendle (above) and Andrew Long.

Mike was tonight chosen as the new Mayor for Camborne, only days after Phil was re-elected unopposed as the Mayor for Penzance and Andrew was chosen as the Deputy Mayor of Callington.

It is really great to see respected MK members being elected to serve their local communities in such prominent roles. Well done guys.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Western Greyhound

It has been a difficult week in St Enoder Parish with the devastating arson attack
on the Western Greyhound depot in Summercourt, which destroyed over 35 buses.

It is a relief that no-one was hurt in the attack and I hope that the Police will be able to identify and take strong action against the individuals or individuals who were responsible for the fire.

The damage was truly horrific and Western Greyhound are to be commended for getting so many buses out to serve the communities of Cornwall in such a short time after the fire.

I am grateful to Mark Howarth, the owner of Western Greyhound, for keeping me informed about the progress on the site, as well as those local residents who have contacted me with information about the incident.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

First day back at County Hall

Today, I attended the first induction day for new (and returning) councillors at Cornwall Council. The four MK councillors are pictured above.

All the political groups had their first formal group meetings and “negotiations” have commenced as to the make-up of the next administration.

The view of the MK group is clear. We believe that all of the main groups should be represented on the governing Cabinet. But it remains to be seen whether the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats put political self-interest to one side and work together with each other, and the other groups, for the betterment of Cornwall.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Election comment from Bernard Deacon

The analysis of the 2013 Cornwall Council election results continue. One website well worth a visit is Bernard Deacon’s new blog at

There are statistics (see below) and also thoughtful comment from Dr Deacon.

Here’s the extract on MK’s performance.

"MK will be disappointed at its tally of seats. Its average vote share rose, revealing steady progress, and it seems to have weathered the Ukip storm quite well. In fact, MK came very close to a spectacular breakthrough. If just 140 voters in five wards had switched to MK, the party would have won nine seats rather than the four it ended up with and celebrations would have been widespread. As it is, a solid performance and an impressive manifesto provide a good base for expansion. The party must now look to ways of hoovering up those who will become increasingly disaffected by the London-orientated parties and the lack of an alternative to centralising neo-liberal policies."

Town and Parish Council election results

Seven MK members also contested elections to town and parish councils on Thursday and six were successful. The results have not been widely publicised, in which MK councillors did extremely well, out-polling Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent candidates.

The relevant results are listed below:

Bodmin Town Council – St Petroc Ward (5 seats)
P Skea (Ind) – 498 Elected
R Solomons (Ind) – 433 Elected
John Gibbs (MK) – 428 Elected
L Kennedy (Ind) – 379 Elected
S J Horne (Ind) – 357 Elected
M E Dominey (Ind) – 330
C R Bell (Ind) – 284

Camborne Town Council – Trelowarren Ward (4 seats)
S Odgers (Con) – 304 Elected
Zoe Fox (MK) – 302 Elected
A Crickett (Lab) – 276 Elected
C. Godolphin (Ind) – 262 Elected
D. Everett (Green) – 220

Falmouth Town Council – Penwerris Ward (3 seats)
G Chappel (Ind) – 484 Elected
I Body (Ind) – 374 Elected
G Chin-Quee (Ind) – 373 Elected
L Coley (Lab) – 328
S Coley (Lab) – 281
Tony Leamon (MK) – 207

Illogan Parish Council – Illogan Ward (9 seats)
T Wilkins (Con) – 398 Elected
Syephen Richardson (MK) – 386 Elected
J Ferrett (Ind) – 335 Elected
M Roberts (Ind) – 236 Elected
M Thompson (Ind) – 215 Elected
G. Ford (Ind) – 189 Elected
K Bowden (Liberal) – 173 Elected
M Loxton (Ind) – 157 Elected
V. Cadby (Liberal) – 155 Elected
B. Hawke (Ind) – 144

Penzance Town Council – Central Ward (4 seats)
C Olivier (Lab) – 578 Elected
J Moreland (Ind) – 492 Elected
Phil Rendle (MK) – 368 Elected
C Dennis (Ind) – 323 Elected
M Rabbitte (Con) – 236
M Adams (Ind) – 216

Penzance Town Council – East Ward (4 seats)
R. Lewarne (Lib Dem) – 529 Elected
M Paine (Green) – 472 Elected
J Dunsmuir (Lab) – 460 Elected
Rob Simmons (MK) – 415 Elected
C White (Lib Dem) – 346
T McFadden (A Future for Penzance) – 240
A Elliott (Con) – 220

St Austell Town Council – Poltair Ward (4 seats)
J Bull (Lib Dem) – 399 Elected
S Double (Con) – 293 Elected
Derek Collins (MK) – 278 Elected
B Palmer (Ind) – 267 Elected
A Lanxon (Lab) – 246
A Harris (Con) – 235
S Henry (Ind) – 210
J Hanlon (Con) – 164
A Watkins (Ind) – 121
A Watkins (Ind) – 72

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Full list of MK councillors

Following the recent elections, the full list of successful MK councillors is as follows:

Cornwall Council

Callington – Andrew Long
Crowan and Wendron – Loveday Jenkin
Penwithick and Boscoppa – Matt Luke
St Enoder – Dick Cole

Town and Parish Councils

Bodmin Town Council (St Marys) – Shaun Stephens
Bodmin Town Council (St Petrocs) – John Gibbs
Breage Parish Council – Simon Caddick
Callington Town Council (Callington) – Andrew Long
Callington Town Council (Kelly Bray) – Maria Coakley
Camborne Town Council (Pendarves) – John Gillingham
Camborne Town Council (Roskear) – John Rowe
Camborne Town Council (Trelowarren) – Zoe Fox
Camborne Town Council (Treslothan) – Alan Sanders
Camborne Town Council (Treswithian) – Mike Champion
Carn Brea Parish Council (Four Lanes) – Chris Lawrence
Crowan Parish Council (Praze) – Loveday Jenkin
Illogan Parish Council (Illogan) – Stephen Richardson
Mevagissey Parish Council – Matt Facey
Penryn Town Council (West) – Dave Garwood
Penzance Town Council (Central) – Phil Rendle
Penzance Town Council (East) – Rob Simmons
Pillaton Parish Council – Dave Floyd
Roche Parish Council – Brian Higman
St Austell Town Council (Poltair) – Derek Collins
St Enoder Parish Council – Dick Cole
St Newlyn East Parish Council – Rod Toms
Treverbyn Parish Council (Boscoppa) – Matt Luke
Truro City Council (Boscawen) – Conan Jenkin
Truro City Council (Redannick) – Lance Dyer

Matt Luke - MK's second unitary councillor in Clay Country

Delighted that MK’s newest unitary councillor is my good friend, Matt Luke. Matt is 46-year-old Cornishman, who has served on Treverbyn Parish Council for the last fourteen years. He also represented the Parish on Restormel Borough Council for two years from 2007 until the Council’s abolition in 2009.

A conscientious councillor, he has been involved with a large number of local organisations, including the committee of Trethurgy Village Hall as well as the Eden Neighbourhood Forum.

The result was:

Matt Luke (MK) – 356 votes
Chris Rowe (Liberal Democrat) – 295 votes
Jamie Hanlon (Conservative) – 165 votes

The previous result in 2009 was:

Chris Rowe (Liberal Democrat) – 398 votes
Peter Sinclair (Conservative) – 320 votes
Matt Luke (MK) – 288 votes
Shirley Bowden (Labour) – 67 votes

Comment on the unitary council elections

I am very proud of the 26 MK members who stood for election to Cornwall Council. We polled well across Cornwall and managed a very credible series of results, though we are obviously disappointed that we failed to win a number of seats by a handful of votes.

Our candidates achieved a total of 6,824 votes. Four candidates were successful and the average vote-share was over 24% in those divisions contested by MK.

All three sitting councillors successfully defended their seats and each increased their share of the vote. I polled 834 votes in his my St Enoder division, ahead of a single independent opponent. My share of the vote equated to 87%, up from 78% in 2009. Andrew Long meanwhile managed 712 votes (61%) in Callington, up from 54% in 2009, while Loveday Jenkin amassed 751 votes (55%) in Crowan and Wendron, significantly higher than the 36% which she achieved in the 2011 by-election.

The highlight of the election was Matthew Luke’s win in Penwithick and Boscoppa. He managed 356 votes and defeated the sitting Liberal Democrat councillor (295 votes) and a Conservative challenger (165 votes).

Sadly a number of candidates missed out by a handful of votes.

In Fowey and Tywardreath, Fiona Carlyon fought an outstanding campaign. She managed 477 votes, out-polled a prominent local Conservative, but missed out by only 13 votes to the sitting Lib Dem councillor.

In Newlyn (East) and Goonhavern, Rod Toms also fought an amazing campaign and managed 529 votes – just 26 behind the Conservative.

And in Illogan, Stephen Richardson lost out to the sitting Conservative by only 41 votes – but out-polled Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates.

In Camborne, hard-working town councillors Mike Champion and Alan Sanders also missed out. Both received a very positive response on the doorstep, but this did not materialise largely because of a late UKIP surge which strangely appears to have impacted on the MK vote. And although both finished in fourth place, Mike was only 28 votes short of success and Alan was only 32 votes behind the victor.

I am confident that we will be able to build on these results and we will be able to push MK to the next level.

Friday, 3 May 2013

The result for St Enoder Division and some thoughts

It is somewhat late, but I must make an initial comment on today’s local election results.

I am obviously delighted to have been re-elected to serve my home parish on Cornwall Council and I would like to thank everyone who supported me with their votes. The turnout was down on 2009, and the full result was as follows:

Dick Cole (Mebyon Kernow) – 834 (87%)
Elizabeth Hawken (Independent) – 126 (13%)

Overall, MK won four seats. Andrew Long and Loveday Jenkin were also re-elected to the authority and my good friend Matt Luke was elected to represent Penwithick and Boscoppa in Clay Country.

We also had a number of near-misses. Five candidates missed out on election by less than 45 votes, including Fiona Carlyon (Tywardreath and Fowey) who lost by 17 votes and Rod Toms who lost out in Newlyn and Goonhavern by only 26 votes.

I intend to comment in more detail on the unitary election results over the weekend.

I am also pleased to report that the following MK members have been elected to town and parish councils: John Gibbs (Bodmin Town Council), Zoe Fox (Camborne Town Council), Steve Richardson (Illogan Parish Council), Phil Rendle and Rob Simmons (Penzance Town Council), and Derek Collins (St Austell Town Council). Sadly Tony Leamon missed out in Falmouth.

More news to follow soon.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Many thanks to one and all

It has been a frantic few days and, now that the polling stations have closed, I would like to congratulate all 26 MK candidates and their teams for running positive and engaging election campaigns.

It has been a privilege to lead a party which such wonderful individuals, each and every one committed to winning a better deal for Cornwall.

In particular, I would also like to thank my team of helpers in St Enoder division – you have all been brilliant and I am truly in your debt – as well as all those residents who showed their support by displaying posters or leaflets, and gave me encouragement along the way.

Thank you all.