CORNWALL Council is to lobby the Government for a change in the law to prevent a cross-Tamar ‘Devonwall’ parliamentary constituency.
The Boundary Commission is looking to reduce the number of MPs and redraw constituency maps to ensure that roughly equal numbers of voters elect each MP. Two of the 50 constituencies to be abolished are in the South West and many think the only way Cornwall will continue to have six MPs is if boundaries are extended into Devon.
This would create a North Cornwall and North Devon constituency, and/or merger South East Cornwall with West Devon and/or Plymouth.
Last week Cornwall Council voted to write to the Government asking for a change to the Parliamentary and Voting System Act 2011.
Councillors hope a European ‘convention’ protecting the rights of national minorities will help maintain the integrity of Cornwall’s traditional boundary. The ‘keep Cornwall whole’ proposal, made by Mebyon Kernow leader Dick Cole, was carried despite some Conservative opposition.
The agreed resolution calls on council leader John Pollard to seek an urgent meeting with the Boundary Commission, and asks Cornwall’s MPs to help lobby the Government to ensure no MP has to be shared with Devon after the next election.
The last time the issue arose, five years ago, there were protests and demonstrations on the banks of the Tamar. The Prime Minister was caught in an unguarded moment to tell a television reporter that he could not understand what the fuss was about: “It’s the Tamar, not the Amazon,” he said.