St Austell-Padstow seat plan is 'daft'
RADICAL plans to shake up Cornwall's parliamentary seats by connecting Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow with St Austell and Mevagissey have been attacked as "daft'' and a waste of time and money.
The new Bodmin-St Austell seat has been included in the Boundary Commission's final draft proposals for new parliamentary constituencies in a bid to reduce the number of MPs nationally from 650 to 600.
The proposals include the controversial cross-county "Devonwall" seat which will group Bodmin Moor villages like St Breward with Bude, Launceston and Bideford in Devon.
But Liberal Democrats have slammed the proposals and say there is no chance of their MPs voting for the changes.
Ann Kerridge, Lib-Dem Cornwall councillor for Bodmin West, said: "After months of delay the Boundary Commission has moved Bodmin from one daft constituency with Newquay to another daft constituency with St Austell, when we are quite happy staying as North Cornwall.
"Luckily this is all academic, since it's never going to happen because David Cameron doesn't have the votes in Parliament to push it through.
"When the Tories backed away from their commitment to House of Lords' reform, Nick Clegg made it very clear that Liberal Democrats would vote against Cameron's changes to parliamentary seats.
"In a sane world, our MPs would find a way of stopping this now so all the money would be spent on something useful," said Mrs Kerridge.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson agreed the changes had no chance of success.
He said: "A cross-border seat makes no sense and neither does one that puts the Wadebridge and Padstow area together with St Austell.
"The Boundary Commission have ignored most of the sensible suggestions they were given to improve upon their starting position. It is a shame that they could not have been more sympathetic to the views of my constituents.
"Whilst the position of the Liberal Democrats on this exercise is clear – that we will vote against the plans to change constituency boundaries – I hope that Conservative MPs in Cornwall and in Devon will do the same to kill off this idea once and for all."
In St Austell, mayor John Keast felt pairing his town with the likes of Padstow and Port Isaac was "unnatural".
"St Austell and Newquay have an obvious connection, St Austell and Truro are quite closely linked, but there is no real connection between St Austell and Wadebridge and Padstow. It's an artificial constituency really."
For more on the boundary commission review, see page 28.