Thursday, 12 May 2016

Standing up for the integrity of Cornwall

At this morning’s meeting of the unitary authority's Constitution and Governance Committee, members debated a motion which I had tabled to Full Council opposing the creation of a Devonwall seat in the upcoming Boundary Review.

In particular, I had raised the importance of the Framework Convention for National Minorities.

A revised resolution was agreed, that had been worked up by a senior officer of the Council and was further amended by members at the meeting.

It was as follows:

(a) Under the current provisions of the Parliamentary and Voting System Act 2011 (“the Act”) it is inevitable that at least one parliamentary constituency will be created that cuts across Cornwall’s historic boundary;
(b) the Act was passed prior to the Government’s announcement on 24 April 2014 that the Cornish would be formally recognised as a national minority coming within the protective Articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; and
(c) It is inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the said Framework Convention and its application to the protection of the Cornish that the implementation of the current parliamentary constituency review in accordance with the provisions of the Act would lead to the territorial integrity of Cornwall and its historic boundary being compromised.

Council therefore resolves:

(1) to urge the Government to respect the spirit of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and take all necessary steps to amend the Act prior to completion of the said parliamentary constituency review to specifically protect the parliamentary constituencies of Cornwall so that they remain fully within the boundaries of Cornwall;
(2) to write to all the Members of Parliament for Cornwall to seek their urgent and active support for the proposed amendment as set out under paragraph (1) above; and
(3) that the Leader seek an urgent meeting with the Boundary Commission for England to raise the fundamental constitutional issue of the integrity of Cornwall’s boundary and the impact of the said Framework Convention that is critical to the effective implementation of the said parliamentary constituency review.

This will now be presented to Tuesday’s meeting of Cornwall Council.

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