Delight and dismay at 'Devonwall' vote
THE news that Cornwall and Devon's constituency boundaries are set to remain unchanged, until 2018 at least, has prompted a strong reaction from some political groups in South East Cornwall.
Last Tuesday MPs voted in favour of rejecting proposals made by the Conservative party to redefine constituency boundaries by 334 votes to 292.
The result was welcomed by Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for greater independence for Cornwall.
Andrew Long, deputy leader of Mebyon Kernow and Cornwall councillor for Callington, said: "We are naturally delighted by the resounding rejection of the Conservative proposals to push forward with a Devonwall constituency for the 2015 elections. "
"These proposals were flawed and failed to take into account Cornwall's cultural, historical and political border of the Tamar and had created an unusual situation of cross-party unity with the local branches of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties all supporting the Mebyon Kernow-backed campaign set up to respect the border."
Adam Killeya, who founded the Keep Cornwall Whole campaign, during his time as Mayor of Saltash in 2010, said: "This is fantastic news. We would have much preferred it if Cornwall had been explicitly protected in law, which is what we fought for. However the route to victory is less important than the result which is that Cornwall will remain whole for at least the next election."
South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray voted in favour of the plans to merge constituency boundaries.
Chair of South East Cornwall Liberal Democrats Jim Candy said: "This is the right result for Cornwall but it is frankly baffling that our local MP voted against Cornwall, by supporting this process that would have meant a shared MP with Devon. Is that really standing up for local residents or for Cornwall?"
Vice-chair of South East Cornwall Liberal Democrats Charles Boney said: "At the Keep Cornwall Whole Rally in Saltash in 2010, Mrs Murray promised to 'keep on and on' to protect the historic boundary between Cornwall and Devon.
"It seems she has far more allegiance to the Conservative Party whips than to the people of South East Cornwall."
Mrs Murray said the boundary changes would have saved the taxpayer money.
Writing in her column in the Cornish Guardian last week, she said: "A reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600 would make significant savings to the taxpayer.
"I believe we should be making as many savings as we can in the current economic climate and this is why I supported the Conservative Government against what I consider to be a very irresponsible amendment."
"I was very disappointed that the Liberal Democrats chose to use this Bill to table an amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act which was introduced to Parliament by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.
"This Act of Parliament received Royal Assent on February 16, 2011. Despite the Liberal Democrats supporting this Act two years ago, they have chosen to table an amendment which would see a delay in reducing the number of MPs until after the next election."
The Boundary Commission is set to review the issue in 2018.