Cornwall unites with cross-party opposition to Devonwall plans – except, er.. Scott Mann

devonwall map

Politicians from across Cornwall’s party divisions united in opposition to the so called Devonwall plans today. Despite a record amount of opposition, the cross- Tamar seat has again been included in the Boundary Commission’s  latest proposals, released today.

However Scott Mann, the North Cornwall MP who represents the constituency that will be directly affected has again refused to publicly condemn the plans.

Scott Mann HoC flag
Scott Mann refuses to publicly oppose Devonwall

Scott has always been conspicuously silent on the issue, but he spoke to Laurence Reed from Westminister today

“The parliamentary maths mean that in my view these proposals won’t pass” he told the popular BBC Cornwall lunchtime show.

“Do you want them to pass?” asked Laurence

“It will save £11 million. I think there are integral areas of the country that need to be kind of safeguarded. This all came about because the proposals were put in in 2011 and the boundary commission are under an obligation to present those proposals to government and they’ll be considered in September next year”

“My own view is that I need to focus on representing the views of my constituents, so when I get back into the constituency this week .. finding out how they feel about this”

The MP pointed out the difficulties of dealing with different authorities across the border but when asked directly if he would vote against it in the Commons the ex-postman MP told Laurence

“I haven’t given any assurances to the whips how I’ll vote one way or the other”

Geoffrey_Cox_2_7
Devon MP Geoffrey Cox opposes Devonwall

Asked if he’d had a conversation with Geoffrey Cocks the MP across the border about Devonwall, Scott Mann revealed that Mr Cox had himself expressed opposition to it.

“So he’s not in favour of it. You’re not in favour of it are you?” the MP was asked again

He still refused to take the opportunity to join just about everybody else and publicly oppose the Devonwall plans.

“I will go back and consult the people I represent” is all he said.

Find the whole show on BBC iplayer.

His Conservative colleague Steve Double had no trouble saying he will vote against Devonwall if it ever got to a commons division, when he told us this afternoon

“It is well recorded that I have opposed these plans. The Boundaries Commission have to follow this process as laid out in the legislation. I believe under the current Parliament it is highly unlikely these changes will go ahead and if they did under the current plans, I would continue my opposition to them.”

double
Steve Double made an impassioned speech last year and voted against the government to oppose Devonwall

1-0 TO CORNWALL IN FIGHT AGAINST #DEVONWALL; DOUBLE MAKES “EMOTIONAL SPEECH” IN DEFENCE OF CORNWALL “I am a Cornishman first and a Conservative second”

dick cole

Mebyon Kernow’s leader Dick Cole called on the government to chuck out the whole review  “As someone who has campaigned against the imposition of a ‘Devonwall’ parliamentary constituency for a number of years, I was pleased to see numerous recent newspaper reports that the Conservatives intended to scrap the Boundary Review.

“But I am perplexed that that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue – especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and the recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs or their friends in the Democratic Unionist Party.

“Senior Conservatives have already admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure, and I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review and think again.

“We will certainly be continuing with our campaigns to protect the territorial integrity of Cornwall, and for Cornwall to be treated as a distinct entity for the purposes of governance.”

cwall-lab

Candy Atherton for Cornwall Labour told us

“Labour is totally opposed to Devonwall and has been since the Tories first proposed this. It is a complete nonsense”

 

“It has been made clear today that a Conservative win at the next election will breach Cornwall’s ancient border and force Devonwall on us.
A Labour government will retain the boundary of the Duchy keeping Cornwall whole.
The Boundary Commission are merely working to rules created by the Conservative Government. The change of constituencies would give the Conservatives a sweeping majority in the Commons without a single vote cast.
This is another example of Conservative contempt for democracy, since the Boundary Commission are unable to come to another conclusion no matter how sympathetic they are to Cornwall’s unique position. If the Conservatives win the next election, Devonwall is unavoidable and the boundary will be breached.
Only a Labour Government will keep Cornwall whole”
brown
Malcolm Brown Cornwall Councillor St Austell Bethel and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall said ‘the fight would go on’

 

“Today is another grim day for the territorial integrity of Cornwall. The Parliamentary Boundary Commission has been unable to respond positively to the detailed and coherent case against a Devonwall constituency presented by myself and many other people and organisations across Cornwall. To be honest, this is no surprise. The rules formulated by many of those who now run the Government meant this outcome was almost inevitable.

However, the fight will go on. As the Leader of the largest group in Cornwall Council’s administration I will be urging the council to object yet again in what will be the last round of consultation. This time I hope the Conservatives will stand alongside the solid ranks of Lib Dem, Independent, Labour and Mebyon Kernow councillors who have stood up for Cornwall. Up until now they have  been either indifferent or hostile to making a stand.

I also hope that, if all else fails, Parliament will reject the whole report a year from now. The spotlight will be on the 6 Conservative MPs for Cornwall whose votes will be critical.

Although I hope sincerely that this report will never  be implemented, I am pleased that my other detailed comments are referred to several times in the report and that two detailed proposals affecting mid Cornwall that I made have been accepted. These would mean that St Columb Major would be in the same constituency as Newquay and St Stephen In Brannel in the same constituency as St Austell, which is logical”

 

 

Devonwall – MK calls on Theresa May to end farce of Boundary Review

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has today published revised proposals for new constituency boundaries and commenced an eight-week consultation.

The BCE is still recommending a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and has glossed over the massive level of opposition to this breach of Cornwall’s historic integrity.

Ignored Again! Boundary Commission continues with Devonwall plans

Devonwall plans could be axed, claims report

Dick Cole has said he’s disappointed but not surprised.

“At the Boundary Commission hearing in Truro in November, I argued that the whole process – with regard to Cornwall was flawed – and appealed to the BCE that they should recognise this and join us in making representations to central government to rethink their approach, to modify the existing legislation and make sure that a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” constituency is not created.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the BCE has chosen not to do this.”

The leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has now called on the Prime Minister to make a formal announcement that she will scrap the Boundary Review that would lead to the creation of an unpopular cross-Tamar constituency.

Govt Criticised by National Minority Report –  should be Tick Box on Census, No Devonwall, proper devolution and cash for language 

Theresa May is coming under pressure from all sides to stop the bill – with MPs from across the country opposed for various reasons. Devonwall is never mentioned in the national press.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat chief whip, told The Independent “stop wasting money on a dead-duck boundary review”.

“The DUP will not wear this review. Nor will many Tory backbenchers. The Government should stop wasting public funds and bow to the inevitable,” he said.

Meanwhile back home Cllr Dick Cole said: “As someone who has campaigned against the imposition of a ‘Devonwall’ parliamentary constituency for a number of years, I was pleased to see numerous recent newspaper reports that the Conservatives intended to scrap the Boundary Review.

“But I am perplexed that that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue – especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and the recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs or their friends in the Democratic Unionist Party.

“Senior Conservatives have already admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure, and I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review and think again.

Following a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to 600 from 650, and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of the new constituencies should be.

An initial 12-week consultation was held in the autumn last year, giving the public the first chance to view and comment on BCE’s plans, followed by a second consultation in the Spring of this year. Over 25,000 public responses were received nationally during these consultations. “Based on what the public have told us about their local communities, we have decided to revise over half of our initial proposals” said a spokesperson for the BCE

Dick Cole continued

“We will certainly be continuing with our campaigns to protect the territorial integrity of Cornwall, and for Cornwall to be treated as a distinct entity for the purposes of governance.”

IMG_4932.jpg

 

Ignored Again! Boundary Commission continues with Devonwall plans

Plans for a Devonwall constituency have been included in the latest, revised edition of the review of parliamentary constituences by the Boundary Commission.

A few weeks ago it was reported that the Conservatives were ready to drop the legislation to give more parliamentary time for Brexit.

Devonwall plans could be axed, claims report

All the while the boundary commission has continued it’s work regardless. Today it publishes it’s revised plans since the consultations the third edition- but nothing has changed their mind about Devonwall. They say they note the depth of feeling but no valid alternatives were proposed.

The report says:

“There was support for our proposed constituencies, but also many objections to the creation of a so-called ‘Devonwall’ cross-county constituency, as detailed previously in this report. Many of those who objected to a cross-county constituency did not submit a counter-proposal to create five constituencies wholly within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, each with an electorate within the permitted electorate range. It was argued that Cornwall was a separate entity to the rest of England and should be treated in the same way as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in terms of the review.
Our assistant commissioners were sympathetic to the arguments against a cross-county constituency between Cornwall and Devon, but accepted that the statutory rules left them with no choice but to recommend such a constituency”

Our assistant commissionersconsidered these issues carefully, and decided not to alter our sub-regional grouping. While they acknowledged the depth of feeling in Cornwall against our initial proposals, and were struck in particular by the eloquent and passionate way the views were expressed at the public hearing in Truro, they concluded that there was no valid alternative to a crosscounty boundary constituency that would adhere to the statutory rules. Nor did they consider that the any other sub-regional groups would allow for a better pattern of constituencies across the region”

The legislation is designed to give equal representation across all constituencies.

“We noted that the electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 393,874 and that if we were to allocate five constituencies, the average electorate of those five constituencies would be 78,775, which is more than 5% above the electoral quota, and therefore outside the permitted electorate range. We were aware that there would be opposition to the creation of a constituency that crossed the Cornwall county boundary, but we considered that the ‘Rules for distribution of seats’ in Schedule 2 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended) meant that we had no option but to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary between Cornwall and Devon. We noted that the county of Devon, together with the unitary authorities of Plymouth, and Torbay, had an electorate of 852,765 and could be allocated 11 whole constituencies on its own, but we also noted that to do so would mean that the region as a whole would have only 52 constituencies, instead of the 53 it was entitled to. We therefore decided to allocate 17 constituencies to Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay, and to propose one constituency (named Bideford, Bude and Launceston) that contained parts of Cornwall and Devon.
We decided to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary in the north, rather than in the south where the River Tamar is at its widest”

There will be a further and final chance to send in objections from now til December before the final plans are submitted to parliament for approval.

There may not be a desire to push these changes through in the current parliament but the changes will only be put on hold. This ain’t going away!

Full report here 

More to follow plus reaction

Devonwall plans could be axed, claims report

A news report originally in today’s Times Newspaper that quotes ‘three senior sources’ of the Conservative Party, suggests that Theresa May has decided not to risk time and effort forcing through parliament the Boundary Changes that would have created Devonwall.

The proposals would have led to cutting the number of MPs in total to 600 from 650 and to make each constituency represent roughly the same amount of people. Devonwall is just a byproduct of that (and doesn’t get a mention in the national press…)

However campaigners in Cornwall are cautiously optimistic about the report that would be the latest manifesto pledge to be abandoned by Mrs May as she focuses all her attention on Brexit.

Opposition to Devonwall, the proposed new constituency that would straddle the Tamar at North Cornwall, was cross party and sustained by the vast majority of Cornwall.

Devonwall

Steve Double spoke against it in Parliament and today  Lord (Paul) Tyler, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Constitutional & Political Reform and former MP for North Cornwall reacted to the news

“There is no sense in forcing through changes which destroy the historic integrity of communities and require the redrawing of boundaries every five years.

Paul_Tyler_at_Birmingham_2011
Lord (Paul) Tyler

“After years of campaigning against these damaging proposals I am delighted that we are in sight of success.  This should mean that the reduction of MPs in Cornwall won’t go through, and the ill-fated joint constituency straddling the Tamar will never happen – “Devonwall” is doomed.

“I wish that this threat had been removed years ago;  only one of the present Conservative MPs in Cornwall was prepared to stand up to the party whips, or we might have achieved success much earlier.”

“There is a strong case for more consistency between constituency sizes. However, these plans will be damaging and it would be a mad time to cut the number of MPs, They need to be working harder than ever to keep a check on the government through the Brexit process.”

KMTU on Devonwall – “If democracy and the will of the people has been ignored in such a blatant manner, then what else is available?”

A spokesperson for campaign group Kernow Matter to Us said

kmtu

“Following a sustained campaign involving political parties, Cornwall Council, Town and Parish Councils, campaign groups and many others, it is possible that the unlawful ‘Devonwall’ cross border constituency idea has been finally dropped by a Westminster government in crisis.
 

During that campaign, KMTU wrote to every Council in Cornwall and our members participated in the Polson Bridge demonstration closing off that road into Cornwall in protest at a possible fudging of Cornwall’s time honoured boundary. Letters were also sent to members of the House of Lords, MPs and many other individuals including Church leaders.

It looks possible that the Conservatives might be about to back down!”

 

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Craig Weatherhill Craig Weatherhill All very wrong. Cornwall needs its own police force. There was little wrong with the old Cornwall Constabulary. It was efficient and the officers knew both their patch, and the occasional weed that grew in it.. Every time centralisation takes place, the quality suffers, and so do we.
Vaughan Glover Vaughan Glover Cornwall, Devon and Dorset is an enormous area. How does it compare to other Police areas?

 

KMTU on Devonwall – "If democracy and the will of the people has been ignored in such a blatant manner, then what else is available?"

1497

Statement from KMTU re Devonwall

We received the news today that the unelected quango, the Boundary Commission, have decided to cast aside all they were told last year and to continue to recommend a cross border Devonwall Constituency.

They have made this decision despite last October’s peaceful protest on one of the border bridges where hundreds of protesters closed off the road at Polson, despite wall to wall objectors over two days during the so called public consultation at Cornwall Council last year, despite thousands of communications objecting to this, despite objections from dozens of town and parish Councils across Cornwall and from Cornwall Council itself and the one MP, Steve Double, who spoke against it.

We are astonished at the arrogance of the Boundary Commission and if their aim is to anger a substantial number of people in Cornwall, then they have achieved that aim.

17 and more years ago when English Heritage put up their illegal signs, patriotic Cornish people legitimately removed them.This occurred when Westminster and its agencies ignored the will of the Cornish people. Eventually, that stubborn and strong will won through and the demands of the Cornish people and people of Cornwall were recognised and the authorities backed down.

There is a while to go yet on this particular journey but the decision made by the Boundary Commission which flies in the face of what thousands have told them begs this simple question – if democracy and the will of the people has been ignored in such a blatant manner then what else is available?

We invite them and their supporters to consider the consequences of their actions. If democracy fails us, as it has apparently done here, then many will be forced to consider what other tools are at their disposal.

Remember that it is the Boundary Commission that are acting illegally, under the Framework Convention. When it is our own government who are criminals, there is no compulsion to obey them at all

Issued on behalf of Kernow Matters To Us.

KMTU on Devonwall – “If democracy and the will of the people has been ignored in such a blatant manner, then what else is available?”

1497

Statement from KMTU re Devonwall

We received the news today that the unelected quango, the Boundary Commission, have decided to cast aside all they were told last year and to continue to recommend a cross border Devonwall Constituency.

They have made this decision despite last October’s peaceful protest on one of the border bridges where hundreds of protesters closed off the road at Polson, despite wall to wall objectors over two days during the so called public consultation at Cornwall Council last year, despite thousands of communications objecting to this, despite objections from dozens of town and parish Councils across Cornwall and from Cornwall Council itself and the one MP, Steve Double, who spoke against it.

We are astonished at the arrogance of the Boundary Commission and if their aim is to anger a substantial number of people in Cornwall, then they have achieved that aim.

17 and more years ago when English Heritage put up their illegal signs, patriotic Cornish people legitimately removed them.This occurred when Westminster and its agencies ignored the will of the Cornish people. Eventually, that stubborn and strong will won through and the demands of the Cornish people and people of Cornwall were recognised and the authorities backed down.

There is a while to go yet on this particular journey but the decision made by the Boundary Commission which flies in the face of what thousands have told them begs this simple question – if democracy and the will of the people has been ignored in such a blatant manner then what else is available?

We invite them and their supporters to consider the consequences of their actions. If democracy fails us, as it has apparently done here, then many will be forced to consider what other tools are at their disposal.

Remember that it is the Boundary Commission that are acting illegally, under the Framework Convention. When it is our own government who are criminals, there is no compulsion to obey them at all

Issued on behalf of Kernow Matters To Us.

Sarah Newton on Devonwall … and more! Extraordinary attack on "Cornish Nationalists" from Truro MP

 

Lance Dyer, MK Truro City councillor, has received an extraordinary reply from Truro MP Sarah Newton when asked about her stance on Devonwall.

She gives the party line on reasons for supporting the cross boundary seat but then she lays into “Cornish Nationalists” who along with the Welsh and Scottish are apparently  determined to break up the Union..”Cornish nationalists take every opportunity to pick fights with what they call ‘Westminster politicians’ and stir up grievances” she moans.

She “agrees that the Duchy has a unique place in the UK” but asserts “it’s currently part of England and in turn the union”.

There’s a phrase that historians will pick up on when she makes reference to Bishop Tim that “this proves how the border  between Devon and Cornwall has changed over time”.

It seems for the Tory MP for Truro & Falmouth it’s OK to quote history when it suits her argument but dismiss it as irrelevant when it doesn’t.

 

“I am very proud of my deep Cornish roots and am proud that along with my fellow Cornish MPs we have delivered significant investment into Cornwall, including the Cornish language, heritage and culture over that last few years”

Sarah Newton MP Dec 2016

 

Post-truth politics is nothing new to the people of Cornwall who have been spun these yarns for years.

This does though highlight the need for the moderate Cornish voice to assert itself to make Ms Newton’s calculated spin irrelevant. It’s her opinion, in the old voice of ageing ‘establishment Cornwall’ that you can’t assert a Cornish identity without being seen as an extremist! This is not the majority view of the voices in the new modern Cornwall who are confident in the shoes of their identity and culture, and don’t understand when Cornish  MPs like Sarah Newton sell Cornwall down the river, washed down with some sugary pap that in her old style politics we are supposed to swallow like good little children.

wp_20161122_013
Lance Dyer of MK who received the reply from Sarah Newton

Mr Dyer messaged:

“See reply from Sarah Newton MP in response to my letter about Devonwall. I asked why she did not take the opportunity to denounce Devonwall at a HoC debate a couple of weeks ago”

“For what use she is to Cornwall why does she not move away and represent, say, Sussex?!”

Lance Dyer

Sarah Newton’s reply is published below with some of the boring bits taken out. The first half refers to the specific piece of legislation regarding Devonwall, then she makes her attack on Cornish Nationalism:

Dear Lance,

Thank you for your email regarding the Private Members’ Bill introduced by Pat Glass MP.

The Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, having passed its second reading, will enter the House of Commons Committee Stage. However, it will still need to complete its passage through the Commons and Lords if it to become law.
In 2011 The Parliamentary Election and Constituencies Bill was debated and voted upon. It sought to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided the change was endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats were designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.
Understanding that one of the implications of this Bill would be the possibility of an MP representing Cornwall and part of Devon, all Cornwall’s MPs made the case for Cornwall be treated as a special case. We moved an amendment to the legislation but sadly were defeated. Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have enough support in Parliament.
Subsequently, the legislation went through both Houses of Parliament and the Bill became an Act of Parliament. The Boundary Commission are currently implementing the Act. That is a public consultation on the proposed boundaries. If you have yet to do so, I recommend that you make your views known during the consultation.

After the Commission’s report in 2018, the Secretary of State must lay their reports before Parliament. The Secretary of State must then lay before Parliament a draft Order in Council to give effect to the proposed boundary changes. This Order requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament. This order is not amendable.

We are very fortunate to live in a democracy where there are a politicians promoting a wide range of views. Cornish nationalists take every opportunity to pick fights with what they call ‘Westminster politicians’ and stir up grievances. The Scottish and Welsh nationalists adopt a similar strategy, trying to undermine politicians like myself who are not only very proud of our deep Cornish roots but also support the Union.
From what I understand, the basic assertion of the Cornish nationalists is that Cornwall is a separate nation like Wales and Scotland and should be treated as such. While I agree that the Duchy has a unique status within the United Kingdom, I accept that Cornwall is currently part of England and in turn the Union.

I think being part of the Union matters for Cornwall. It matters for the economic stability and jobs that our partnership brings. It matters for the defence and security of our country. It matters because of the common bonds we share right across this United Kingdom. And it matters perhaps even more so now that we are leaving the European Union. I don’t agree with the Scottish, Welsh or Cornish nationalists that want each nation to become independent and break up the Union. I think it is important to build bridges, focussing on what unites us rather than what divides us.
Your letter seems to include the assertion that by having one MP represent Cornwall and part of Devon, that Cornwall is in some way diminished or weakened. I don’t accept this assertion. Cornwall remains Cornwall. It’s worth noting that Cornwall’s bishop Tim, a member of the House of Lords, represents Cornwall and some parishes in Devon. This recognises the fact that the border between Cornwall & Devon has moved over time.

It is also worth noting that one Cornish MP, Derek Thomas represents not only Cornwall but also the Isles of Scilly. As you know the Isles of Scilly are not part of Cornwall. This proves to me that it is possible for one MP to represent two distinct areas.
Also, I expect that when the next boundary review is undertaken, the population of Cornwall will have grown and we should have enough people eligible to vote, if all those eligible to vote actually register, to prevent the current situation.
I am very proud of my deep Cornish roots and am proud that along with my fellow Cornish MPs we have delivered significant investment into Cornwall, including the Cornish language, heritage and culture over that last few years. I am confident that we will continue to see investments in years to come too.
Cornwall Council is the first non city council to have signed a devolution deal with the Government that is enabling many more decisions to be made in Cornwall rather than Westminster. I am a keen supporter of this devolution, although I am very disappointed with the leadership of Cornwall Council’s attitude to most parish councils and hope that following elections in May 2017, the new Cornwall Council will deliver a ‘double devolution’ to people and communities in Cornwall.
As you will be aware, building on the foundations laid when John Major was Prime Minister, the last Prime Minister helped enable the Council of Europe recognition of Cornish Minority Status. This special status has of course been taken into consideration by the Boundary Commission.
While I appreciate that you will find this letter disappointing, I firmly believe that being your elected representative is about doing the right thing, even if it is not popular.
Thank you once more for taking the time to write. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you feel that I can be of further assistance to you in the future.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs Sarah Newton MP

Sarah Newton on Devonwall … and more! Extraordinary attack on “Cornish Nationalists” from Truro MP

 

Lance Dyer, MK Truro City councillor, has received an extraordinary reply from Truro MP Sarah Newton when asked about her stance on Devonwall.

She gives the party line on reasons for supporting the cross boundary seat but then she lays into “Cornish Nationalists” who along with the Welsh and Scottish are apparently  determined to break up the Union..”Cornish nationalists take every opportunity to pick fights with what they call ‘Westminster politicians’ and stir up grievances” she moans.

She “agrees that the Duchy has a unique place in the UK” but asserts “it’s currently part of England and in turn the union”.

There’s a phrase that historians will pick up on when she makes reference to Bishop Tim that “this proves how the border  between Devon and Cornwall has changed over time”.

It seems for the Tory MP for Truro & Falmouth it’s OK to quote history when it suits her argument but dismiss it as irrelevant when it doesn’t.

 

“I am very proud of my deep Cornish roots and am proud that along with my fellow Cornish MPs we have delivered significant investment into Cornwall, including the Cornish language, heritage and culture over that last few years”

Sarah Newton MP Dec 2016

 

Post-truth politics is nothing new to the people of Cornwall who have been spun these yarns for years.

This does though highlight the need for the moderate Cornish voice to assert itself to make Ms Newton’s calculated spin irrelevant. It’s her opinion, in the old voice of ageing ‘establishment Cornwall’ that you can’t assert a Cornish identity without being seen as an extremist! This is not the majority view of the voices in the new modern Cornwall who are confident in the shoes of their identity and culture, and don’t understand when Cornish  MPs like Sarah Newton sell Cornwall down the river, washed down with some sugary pap that in her old style politics we are supposed to swallow like good little children.

wp_20161122_013
Lance Dyer of MK who received the reply from Sarah Newton

Mr Dyer messaged:

“See reply from Sarah Newton MP in response to my letter about Devonwall. I asked why she did not take the opportunity to denounce Devonwall at a HoC debate a couple of weeks ago”

“For what use she is to Cornwall why does she not move away and represent, say, Sussex?!”

Lance Dyer

Sarah Newton’s reply is published below with some of the boring bits taken out. The first half refers to the specific piece of legislation regarding Devonwall, then she makes her attack on Cornish Nationalism:

Dear Lance,

Thank you for your email regarding the Private Members’ Bill introduced by Pat Glass MP.

The Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, having passed its second reading, will enter the House of Commons Committee Stage. However, it will still need to complete its passage through the Commons and Lords if it to become law.
In 2011 The Parliamentary Election and Constituencies Bill was debated and voted upon. It sought to enable the next general election to be fought under the Alternative Vote system, provided the change was endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600. New rules for the redistribution of seats were designed to give primacy to numerical equality in constituencies and regular redistributions would take place every five years.
Understanding that one of the implications of this Bill would be the possibility of an MP representing Cornwall and part of Devon, all Cornwall’s MPs made the case for Cornwall be treated as a special case. We moved an amendment to the legislation but sadly were defeated. Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have enough support in Parliament.
Subsequently, the legislation went through both Houses of Parliament and the Bill became an Act of Parliament. The Boundary Commission are currently implementing the Act. That is a public consultation on the proposed boundaries. If you have yet to do so, I recommend that you make your views known during the consultation.

After the Commission’s report in 2018, the Secretary of State must lay their reports before Parliament. The Secretary of State must then lay before Parliament a draft Order in Council to give effect to the proposed boundary changes. This Order requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament. This order is not amendable.

We are very fortunate to live in a democracy where there are a politicians promoting a wide range of views. Cornish nationalists take every opportunity to pick fights with what they call ‘Westminster politicians’ and stir up grievances. The Scottish and Welsh nationalists adopt a similar strategy, trying to undermine politicians like myself who are not only very proud of our deep Cornish roots but also support the Union.
From what I understand, the basic assertion of the Cornish nationalists is that Cornwall is a separate nation like Wales and Scotland and should be treated as such. While I agree that the Duchy has a unique status within the United Kingdom, I accept that Cornwall is currently part of England and in turn the Union.

I think being part of the Union matters for Cornwall. It matters for the economic stability and jobs that our partnership brings. It matters for the defence and security of our country. It matters because of the common bonds we share right across this United Kingdom. And it matters perhaps even more so now that we are leaving the European Union. I don’t agree with the Scottish, Welsh or Cornish nationalists that want each nation to become independent and break up the Union. I think it is important to build bridges, focussing on what unites us rather than what divides us.
Your letter seems to include the assertion that by having one MP represent Cornwall and part of Devon, that Cornwall is in some way diminished or weakened. I don’t accept this assertion. Cornwall remains Cornwall. It’s worth noting that Cornwall’s bishop Tim, a member of the House of Lords, represents Cornwall and some parishes in Devon. This recognises the fact that the border between Cornwall & Devon has moved over time.

It is also worth noting that one Cornish MP, Derek Thomas represents not only Cornwall but also the Isles of Scilly. As you know the Isles of Scilly are not part of Cornwall. This proves to me that it is possible for one MP to represent two distinct areas.
Also, I expect that when the next boundary review is undertaken, the population of Cornwall will have grown and we should have enough people eligible to vote, if all those eligible to vote actually register, to prevent the current situation.
I am very proud of my deep Cornish roots and am proud that along with my fellow Cornish MPs we have delivered significant investment into Cornwall, including the Cornish language, heritage and culture over that last few years. I am confident that we will continue to see investments in years to come too.
Cornwall Council is the first non city council to have signed a devolution deal with the Government that is enabling many more decisions to be made in Cornwall rather than Westminster. I am a keen supporter of this devolution, although I am very disappointed with the leadership of Cornwall Council’s attitude to most parish councils and hope that following elections in May 2017, the new Cornwall Council will deliver a ‘double devolution’ to people and communities in Cornwall.
As you will be aware, building on the foundations laid when John Major was Prime Minister, the last Prime Minister helped enable the Council of Europe recognition of Cornish Minority Status. This special status has of course been taken into consideration by the Boundary Commission.
While I appreciate that you will find this letter disappointing, I firmly believe that being your elected representative is about doing the right thing, even if it is not popular.
Thank you once more for taking the time to write. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you feel that I can be of further assistance to you in the future.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs Sarah Newton MP