Thursday, 14 July 2016

No to Devonwall seat

The "Boundary Commission for England" has this week published its "Guide to the 2018 Review," which sets out its approach to devising new constituencies for the 2020 General Election.

It has stated that "it is our current intention to publish our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries on Tuesday 13 September 2016."

Sam Hartley, the Secretary to the Commission, has added that: "The first step on the journey will come in September this year, when we will publish our initial view of what the new map of England’s [sic] constituencies should look like. We’ll be asking for people’s views at that point, and travelling round the country in October and November to hear people’s views direct."

As the legislation stands, this review would lead to the creation of a Devonwall constituency and it is important that we lobby the (new) Government to modify the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act to ensure that Cornwall can be kept whole.

Following a motion that I presented to Cornwall Council, the unitary authority has challenged the Government that the approach to the boundary review breaches the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The letter to John Penrose, Minister for Constitutional Reform, included the following:

"The Act received Royal Assent in January 2013. On 24 April 2014, the Government announced that it intended to recognise the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Cornwall Council believes that the implementation of the Act, in creating a parliamentary constituency which cuts across Cornwall’s historical borders, is contrary to the spirit and intent of the Framework Convention as it applies to the Cornish.

"At its meeting on 17 May, the Council overwhelmingly supported a motion which urges the Government to take all necessary steps to amend the Act prior to the completion of the parliamentary constituency review on or before 1 October 2018, to specifically protect the parliamentary constituencies of Cornwall so that they all remain fully within the boundary of Cornwall.

"We recognise that this is a complex constitutional issue and, if it would be helpful, representatives of the Council would welcome the opportunity to meet with civil servants to discuss the implications of this motion and how the conflict between the Act and recognition of the Cornish under the Framework Convention might be resolved."

When the make-up of the (revised) frontbench is in place, we will be lobbying hard to make sure that the territorial integrity of Cornwall is respected. Please join us in these representations.

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