The Boundary Commission of England have ignored the highest amount of protest they have ever received and will press on regardless with their plans for a Devonwall seat.
The controversial proposals will create a parliamentary seat crossing the 1000 + year border between Cornwall and Devon by creating a “Bideford Bude and Launceston” seat.
Despite hundreds of representations from Cornwall on a unprecendented level, the BCE have in the week of St Piran’s Day celebrations dealt another huge insult to Cornish people.
Their initial findings from the first round of “consultation” have resulted in today’s statement:
“The South West has been allocated 53 constituencies – a reduction of two from the current arrangement.
In some counties very few changes are proposed. For example in North Somerset no change is proposed, while in Bristol some existing constituencies are unchanged while others are altered only by the transfer of one ward. More significant change is required in other parts of the region.
Overall, 9 (16%) of the existing constituencies are unchanged. Any solution for the region that ensures all constituencies meet the electoral size rule must include a constituency that contains electors from both Cornwall and Devon. We propose that the Cornwall-Devon boundary is crossed in the north of the two counties, resulting in a constituency that combines the towns of Bideford, Bude and Launceston”.
A statement from the Council this morning :
“We are very disappointed by the decision of the Boundary Commission to formally propose a Bideford, Bude and Launceston cross-border constituency as part of its 2018 review of parliamentary boundaries.
As we said in our robust submission to the Commission, we strongly object to this proposal which would create a new constituency crossing the historic border between Cornwall and Devon for the first time in Cornwall’s history.
As well as destroying the integrity of Cornwall’s historic border, which would cause great distress to numerous residents , this proposal also conflicts with the spirit and intent of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
We strongly believe there are cultural, legal, geographic and political reasons to maintain our border in terms of Parliamentary representation and we will be lobbying Parliament and calling on the Boundary Commission to rethink this proposal.”
Protests will no doubt continue and another round of “consultation” starts today.
Sam Hartley, Secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said in a statement:
“Public input is invaluable throughout the 2018 Boundary Review. Comments made during both consultations will help us develop a well-rounded picture of how local communities live and work together across the country. This local knowledge will be essential when we revise our proposals. Any changes will be based on your comments so it’s important to have your say.”
Following the second consultation, the BCE’s assistant commissioners will look through all comments received during both consultations, considering all the evidence submitted. They will then advise the Commission on where they think the proposals should be revised.
Revised proposals will be published as part of a final consultation in late 2017/early 2018 and any further changes made based on comments received. BCE must report to Parliament with its final recommendation in September 2018. If agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2020.