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No to Devonwall Constituency
On 15th May, I wrote to all six Conservative MPs and challenged them to push for the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act to be revisited and to do everything in their power to prevent the creation of a cross-Tamar constituency.
Two MPs responded, though neither fully addressed the points I raised.

Sarah Newton MP (Falmouth and Truro) replied as follows:

“I have noted your comments, and understand how important it is for you to express your concern regarding the boundary changes. At a time when the country is still clearing the budget deficit inherited from the previous Labour Government, it is right to set an example by cutting the cost of politics and reducing the number of MPs.

“That is why I support the plans put forward in the Conservative Party manifesto to address the unfairness of the current boundaries, as well as reducing the number of MPs to 600 to cut the cost of politics and make votes of more equal value.

“In addition, the Conservative manifesto laid out the party’s intention to implement the boundary reforms that Parliament has already approved and make them apply automatically once the Boundary Commission reports in 2018.

“In my view this is a common sense approach that is good for the taxpayer and good for democracy.”

George Eustice MP (Camborne and Redruth) meanwhile wrote:

“As you know, all Cornish MPs including myself argued that there should not be a cross border “Devonwall” constituency in the last parliament when this was discussed. We tabled an amendment and tried to get the legislation changed. However, we were unsuccessful in doing so and the final plan to emerge for boundary changes therefore included a cross border constituency in North Cornwall and North Devon.

“In the event, the boundary change was not implemented as a result of a coalition dispute over Lords reform. However, the legislation that established the new boundaries still stands. It is quite likely that it will therefore be implemented for the next General Election, but I have not seen any immediate plans on this.

“I will follow this issue, but the time to change it was when the original legislation went through three years ago. We tried to do this but were ultimately unsuccessful.”

I find these two responses extremely disappointing and I have today rewritten to the other four MPs seeking their views.

Further information

The letter that I wrote was as follows:

On behalf of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall, I am writing to all six Cornish MPs following statements from senior Conservatives which stated that the redrawing of parliamentary constituency boundaries is “at the top of the agenda” for the new government.

If the government does enact the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, this will inevitably lead to a “Devonwall” seat, which we, and many others, consider to be unacceptable.

It is my view that you, as a Conservative MP, are in a strong position to ensure that the legislation is revisited, and I would ask that you do all in your power to prevent the creation of a cross-Tamar constituency.

It is my belief that the territorial integrity of Cornwall – a historic Celtic nation – must be protected and its future MPs must serve constituencies that lie entirely within the boundaries of Cornwall (and the Isles of Scilly).

It is also the case that the Cornish people have been recognised as a “national minority,” which reinforces why the historic border of Cornwall should be treated the same as the historic borders of Scotland and Wales when it comes to the delineation of new constituencies.”

I look forward to hearing from you about the actions that you will be taking on this matter.

Taken from Dick Cole's blog dated 1st November 2015.

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Published on 2nd November 2015.

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