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MPs fail to oppose Devonwall
Mebyon Kernow has criticized Cornwall’s six MPs for failing to amend the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill in order to ensure that cross-Tamar “Devonwall” seats are not created in the future.

When the MPs had an opportunity to get the legislation changed, they chose to do nothing. And last week, they all voted against greater flexibility in constituency size which would have made “Devonwall” less likely.

MK’s leadership team has issued the following statement:

“In 2014, the UK Government accepted that the Cornish are a national minority through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. In doing this, they signed up to numerous obligations, which included respect for the territorial integrity of Cornwall.

“We cannot understand why the Westminster establishment has such a problem with meeting its obligations and were simply dumbfounded when Cornwall’s MPs failed to move an amendment to protect Cornwall (and the Isles of Scilly) as an electoral area.

“How can they ever claim to be standing up for Cornwall, if they refuse to safeguard the very existence of Cornwall as a political, economic, cultural or electoral area.”

Background information

1. The Parliamentary Contituencies Bill seeks to set the framework for future reviews into parliamentary seats in the House of Commons. It maintains the number of MPs at 650 and specifies that individual constituencies must be within 5% of the average seat size – unless an area is named in the legislation. It also states that fresh reviews should take place at least once a decade.

2. Figures from the Office of National Statistics state that Cornwall’s electorate is anticipated to rise much faster than that of the UK as a whole. If the ONS is right, by 2030, it could be statistically impossible to Keep Cornwall Whole because of the 5% rule.

3. The Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 14th July and Cornwall’s MPs failed to move an amendment to prevent “Devonwall.”

4. An amendment to stop “Devonwall” was moved in the House of Lords by Lord Paul Tyler, but it was not pushed to a vote.

5. Peers did however to increase the potential variance in constituency size from 5% to 7.5%. This would help make a cross-Tamar seat less likely – though not impossible – but Conservative MPs in the House of Commons rejected this change on 10th November.
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Published on 19th November 2020.

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