George Eustace Statement on Devonwall: "Cross-border seat is nothing new"

George Eustace MP for Camborne and Redruth has become the latest Cornish MP to respond to constituent’s requests to make his position on Devonwall clear.

If you don’t like the idea of the proposed boundary change …just take deep breaths and sit down before you read on…

Here’s what he told Derek Williams:

“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.

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

While it would be preferable not to have a cross border constituency, it is not new. Constituency boundaries before 1974 reflected the old county boundary which meant that North Petherwin and Werrington included were in Devon seats on historical maps. The constituency boundaries were realigned with the new county boundary following the Second Periodical Review of constituencies. This was completed in 1969 but not implemented until after the 1970 General Election, meaning that constituency boundaries took effect in the February 1974 election.

It meant that the Parliamentary constituency of Tavistock that existed from 1955-1974 would have included parts of Cornwall from the time North Petherwin and Werrington were transferred to Cornwall until the constituency boundaries were realigned with the new county boundary in 1974.

Additionally, The European Parliament seat of Cornwall and Plymouth existed from 1979-94 and Cornwall and West Plymouth from 1994-99. In 1999 all constituencies were abolished as the UK moved to the closed list PR system of electing regional Members.

Before the current regional list system the UK was divided into large European Parliament constituencies. In England these were constructed by combining UK Parliamentary constituencies into larger EP constituencies. The Boundary Commission for England was constrained by the number of seats allowed – 66. It was also constrained by the legislation – the European Assembly Elections Act 1978 – which stipulated that EP constituencies should comprise two or more Parliamentary constituencies and should be as close to the electoral quota (the English electorate divided by 66).

As I said, it would be preferable not to have a cross border constituency, but there is a precedent for it and I have no doubt that we can make it a success”.

Now the only Cornish MP not to identify his position is er.. Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall whose constituents will be most affected by the proposed new seat. We ask again, does he not have an opinion on it?

So far Sarah Newton & Sheryll Murray vote in the chamber of the House of Commons in favour of Devonwall, Derek Thomas has realeased a statement saying he doesn’t have much problem with it and only Steve Double has said he will object. (see related articles)