Tuesday, 13 September 2016

So it is official … the Boundary Commission proposal is for a Bideford, Bude and Launceston seat

As we knew would happen, the Boundary Commission has recommended a cross-Tamar constituency. It has been named the “Bideford, Bude and Launceston” constituency and would include land stretching from St Teath and St Breward, to Bude and Launceston.

But the Commission very much blames the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act.

In its report, it makes the following statement:

“If considered alone, the electorate of the County of Cornwall (including the electorate of the Isles of Scilly), at nearly 394,000, would result in an allocation of 5.27 constituencies to the county. While we are sensitive to the strength of feeling about the Cornish border, with its single land border, it is simply not possible to develop a proposal under which five whole constituencies, each with electorates within 5% of the electoral quota, are contained within the county boundary. Therefore we have included the counties of Cornwall and Devon (and the unitary authorities Plymouth and Torbay) in one sub-region, to which we have allocated 17 constituencies. Consequently, our proposals include one constituency that crosses the boundary between these two counties – under the rules within which we work, this is unavoidable.”

The Boundary Commission has also announced that a hearing into the proposals will take place in Truro on 10th and 11th November.

As the Leader of MK, I have released a statement which describes the Devonwall proposal as a “travesty of history, democracy and Cornwall’s very nationhood.” 

My statement can be read in full on the MK website: www.mebyonkernow.org

The Leader of Cornwall Council John Pollard has also confirmed the authority’s total opposition to the creation of a cross border constituency.

He has described it as an “inequitable and unlawful proposal.” His press release makes reference to the “Opposition to Devonwall Constituency” motion discussed at the meeting of Full Council on 17th May, proposed by myself and Andrew Long, and the fact that Cllr Pollard has also written to the new Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore.

John also said: “We believe there is a serious legal and constitutional conflict between the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 (“the Act”), which requires MP’s to represent the same number of electors, and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The Government’s recognition of the Cornish as a national minority under the Framework Convention in 2014 came after the Act came into force and we are arguing that the Act needs amending to address this conflict “.

It has certainly been a busy morning for me. I have, so far, done interviews with Radio Cornwall, Radio Devon and Pirate FM, and I am lined up to do interviews with ITV Westcountry and BBC Spotlight later today.

Please see yesterday's blog entry for information on how you can campaign against Devonwall.

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