Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Government of Cornwall Bill

Liberal Democrat MP Dan Rogerson today tabled a ‘Government of Cornwall’ Bill in the House of Commons.

Dan’s call for powers to be devolved to Cornwall and the very concept of a ‘Government of Cornwall’ Bill is to be welcomed. It is our hope that this will help to reinvigorate the debate about the need for a Cornish Assembly.

Sadly, the bill is flawed and fails to understand or make any distinctions between regional government for Cornwall and local government. The Bill proposes that powers equivalent to the Welsh Assembly should be transferred to the new Cornwall Council which would somehow also continue as a local council.

The reality is that Cornwall’s new unitary authority is a local government body – no different in legal terms, for example, to the 22 unitary councils which operate in Wales beneath the Welsh Assembly.

It makes no sense for the functions of local government (Cornwall Council) and regional government (Cornish Assembly) to sit within one body.

Cornwall needs the greatest devolution possible to a powerful Cornish Assembly (pulling down powers from regional quangos and central government) AND democratically-elected local government, delivering good quality public services.


pukinhell said...

"AND democratically-elected local government"

Dick have you lost the plot or are you NOT a democratically-elected local government member?

Dick Cole said...

I thought the comment was quite clear. A National Assembly for Cornwall and local government are two separate things - we need them both in a democratic Cornwall. That remains my fundamental criticism of Dan's bill.

Anon said...

I don't see why there *needs* to be a distinction between local and regional government. Couldn't we take a look at the setup in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey? I would have thought that the distinction would be hard to make seeing as how Cornwall is such a small area.

Dick Cole said...

I am afraid I disagree with your comments. Even on the Isle of Man (population 76,000, there is a clear distinction between national government (Tynwald/House of Keys) and local government. It is my view that talking about self-government for Cornwall in the context of local government dimishes our aspirations and leaves them easier to be undermined. For example, we know from FOI that central government's position on the 50,000 signatures in 2001 was - you don't need an Assembly, how about a unitary authority? We must dig ourselves out of this trap.