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Theresa May should end Boundary Review
About eleven months ago, the “Boundary Commission for England” (BCE) published its proposals for new constituency boundaries for the next Westminster Parliament. This included a cross-Tamar parliamentary constituency, which was rightly condemned as an outrage that ignored a thousand years of history.
Dick Cole at the Tamar Rally in October 2016The strength of opposition to Devonwall was demonstrated, once again, at last week’s debate on the unitary authority, when elected members voted by 86 to 11 to stand up for Cornwall as a political unit.

It is therefore shameful that the BCE has ignored calls from Cornwall to challenge central government on the flawed basis of the whole process, not least because of the breach of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

And earlier this month, the various Boundary Commissions (for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) presented their final recommendations to parliament. The BCE has sadly not retreated from its Devonwall proposal and continues to blame central government’s approach to the review.

I guess this is not a surprise, as the BCE has been working within the rules set down by Westminster that state seats must have electorates of “between 71,031 and 78,507 – that is, 5% either side of the electoral quota of 74,769.”

But whatever the BCE says, this is intrinsically political as MPs will have a formal and binding vote on whether to accept what has been proposed.

There have been numerous reports that Theresa May and her Government were likely to “pull the plug” on this Review and a number of senior Tories have told journalists that the attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure.

The recommendations of the BCE will almost certainly not be supported by any opposition MPs and an increasing number of Conservatives are also against the changes.

I am therefore very disappointed that they still seem to want to breathe life back into the process.

Surely now is the time for Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review, to repeal the underlying legislation, and think again about how future reviews might be carried out, while protecting the territorial integrity of Cornwall.

To his credit, Steve Double MP has opposed Devonwall for a considerable period of time and it is to be welcomed that Scott Mann MP has also given a guarantee that he will vote against the changes.

For the sake of Cornwall’s democratic future, all Cornish MPs need to make it clear that they will vote no to a cross-Tamar seat.
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By Dick Cole. Published on 19th September 2018.

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