Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Who is standing up for Cornwall in Westminster?


It was the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons today, while my article in the Cornish Guardian addressed the post-election turmoil as the Prime Minister attempts to court the DUP. It is as follows:

As I sit writing this week’s column, it is ten days since Theresa May’s snap General Election gamble destroyed her majority in the House of Commons.

Having spent much of the election scaremongering about a possible “coalition of chaos” with Jeremy Corbyn and others, it is now the Conservatives who are engaged in lengthy discussions with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to reach an agreement that will prop up Theresa May as PM.

As one Scottish National Party MP wrote this week: “In the past two General Elections, the Tories raised the spectre of the SNP controlling a Labour-led coalition, enticing fear in voters that the SNP would force our policies on the rest of the UK. Yet they are now climbing over themselves to get the DUP to sign up to some form of a deal to ensure their continued survival.”

The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, says that their ten MPs want to focus on bringing “stability to our nation.” But most of all, it is clear that the DUP is demanding massive investment in Northern Ireland through a new “economic package.”

Arlene Foster told the media that: “I make no apology for wanting the best for Northern Ireland” though one newspaper put it more bluntly: “Give us billions to back you.”

I cannot criticise the DUP for seeking to use the Conservative’s lack of a majority to the benefit of the residents of their province.

Likewise, it is also telling that the 13 Conservative MPs in Scotland – up from one in 2015 – are flexing their muscles and their leader, Ruth Davidson, has made it clear that they intend “to vote as a bloc to protect the [Scottish] nation’s interests at Westminster.”

Here in Cornwall, we still have a group of six Conservative MPs and the outcome of the General Election means that their votes are just as valuable as those of MPs in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Isn’t time that they were also throwing their weight around in the palace of Westminster, just like Arlene Foster and Ruth Davidson, in order to secure more investment in the Cornish economy and to devise new policy initiatives which meet Cornwall’s specific needs.

They now have a chance to show that they are Cornwall’s representatives in Westminster, rather than Westminster’s reps in Cornwall. The question is: will they rise to the challenge?

Symbolically, they could start by showing their commitment to Cornwall, as a political and economic unit, by using their influence to end the parliamentary boundary review, and stop the creation of a cross-Tamar Devonwall seat.

1 comment:

Stuart Paul said...

Very well said, Cllr.Dick Cole....I certainly hope the MP's will forcefully speak up for Cornwall. No, we don't want the new seat as "Devonwall"....but what we DO want is some good speaking up for Cornwall....just as you say Cllr.Cole,