Cllr Dick Cole celebrates 20 years as leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall

Dick Cole will celebrate 20 years as leader of the Cornish nationalists Mebyon Kernow this week.

Whether or not you agree with his politics, Dick Cole has shown a remarkable dedication to Cornish public life and made a tremendous personal commitment to Cornwall.

At the Mebyon Kernow National Conference on 4th October 1997, Dick Cole was elected the leader of the Party for Cornwall. Now two decades on, Cllr Cole continues to be a prominent public figure who is still at the helm of MK and serving his local parish of St Enoder on Cornwall’s unitary authority.

Image 1 Dick Cole in 1997


Cllr Dick Cole and his MK Cornwall Council colleagues in 2017
Cllr Dick Cole pictured with his MK colleagues elected to Cornwall Council in 2017. They are (left to right) Cllr Andrew Long, Cllr Matthew Luke, Cllr Loveday Jenkin, and Cllr Dick Cole.

Speaking on behalf of MK’s ruling NationalExecutive, Deputy Leader Cllr Loveday Jenkin has paid tribute to Dick’s work as Party Leader. She said: 


“Dick’s longstanding commitment to Cornwall and its people is extraordinary. 

He has been at the heart of so many campaigns and it is truly remarkable that he has found so much energy to battle for Cornish communities over such a significant period of time”


“It is inspiring how hard he has worked as the leader of Mebyon Kernow and as a proactive local councillor. We are extremely proud of the work that he has done pushing for meanungful devolution to Cornwall, and fair funding for Cornwall.  

“It is disappointing that so much of MK’s proCornwall agenda has not found favour with the other political parties in Cornwall and Westminster, but we are 

determined to continue to campaign with Dick to secure a better deal for one 

and all in Cornwall.”   

We have a video interview with Dick Cole to be broadcast on CornishStuff this week to mark the anniversary


A strong voice for Cornwall 

Image 2 Dick Cole at Downing Street in 2001
Delivering the 50,000 signature petition to Downing Street


He has certainly been at the forefront of numerous campaigns for a better deal 

for Cornwall, its communities, economy and environment.  


A life-long advocate for greater self-government for Cornwall, Dick wrote 

the Declaration for a Cornish Assembly, which was launched by MK in 

2000. This was signed by over 50,000 people and presented to 10 

Downing Street in December 2001. In more recent years, he also 

authored the policy booklet “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.” 

Image 3 Dick Cole and Dafydd Iwan at 2006 MK Conference
Statesman: Dick Cole pictured at an MK Conference in 2006, with the President

of Plaid Cymru, Dafydd Iwan. 



Dick was also a member of the working group, which produced reports in 2000, 

2011 and 2014, and successfully argued that the Cornish should be 

recognised as a national minority.  



Dick has never been afraid to stand up for the best interests of local 

communities. and has always been a strong advocate for the China Clay Area.



A respected local councillor 


First elected to Restormel Borough Council in 1999, Dick was re-elected in 2003 

and 2007. During this time, he balanced his civic duties with his work as an 

archaeologist (Cornwall County Council). 

When Cornwall Council was created in 2009, Dick stood down from his employment, so that he would be able to stand for the new authority. He was subsequently elected in 2019, 2013 and 2017.   


In the most recent local election from earlier this year, he polled 1,090 votes,  a vote share of 83%

His majority of 947 was the largest achieved by any candidate in Cornwall, and this was his fifth consecutive local election contest in which he polled over 75% of the vote. 

Image 4 Dick Cole at Indian Queens Recreation Ground
Dick Cole pictured at the new play area in Indian Queens Recreation

Ground. He was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.