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Boundaries revised but 'Devonwall' stays

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 16, 2012

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Officials have revised radical proposals to re-draw the Westcountry political map – but a controversial MP representing both Devon and Cornwall remains.

Boundary commissioners today publish a second and final draft of how the country is to be carved up under plans to slash the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Outrage followed the Boundary Commission for England last September creating a so-called "Devonwall" seat that includes Bude in North Cornwall and Bideford in West Devon.

Yet despite "overwhelming opposition" from MPs and councillors, the body said, officials say Government demands to make each seat the same size means a U-turn is impossible.

But they have adopted proposals put forward by the Conservatives to include two more wards in Torridge, Devon – but they say the revision will not "significantly alter the balance and nature of the constituency".

The Cornwall town of Launceston – the "ancient capital of Cornwall", the report says – will be included in the constituency's name so voters from "all areas can identify with it".

Elsewhere, a new Tavistock and Plympton seat in Devon has been revised to be more "Plymouth-facing" by ditching Okehampton on Dartmoor from the original proposals, and replacing it with Ivybridge.

However, the proposals are unlikely to go ahead, given Liberal Democrat opposition to the Tory-led boundary review.

Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, urged Westcountry Tory MPs to also vote against the change.

He said: "A cross-border seat makes no sense, and neither does a constituency that puts the Wadebridge and Padstow area together with St Austell.

"The Boundary Commission has ignored most of the sensible suggestions."

Some 18 Devon and Cornwall seats will be reduced to 17. Four constituencies are to be unchanged. Other notable changes from the current map include Hayle being assumed by the St Ives constituency and Truro and Falmouth separating.

Meanwhile, reports suggest a Tory "cash-for-seats" deal with the cash-strapped junior coalition party if the Lib Dems drop their opposition.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg vowed to block re-drawn boundaries in a House of Commons vote in revenge for rebel Tory backbenchers wrecking his plans for House of Lords reform.

However, senior Tories are hoping to contrive a U-turn in exchange for millions of pounds of state funding for Mr Clegg's party, with the review handing the Conservatives up to 20 extra seats at the next general election.

Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: "I am clear that I do not want to see a Parliamentary seat that crosses the Cornwall and Devon border.

"I am delighted that Nick Clegg has recently said that the entire Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party will also no longer support these plans – they are a dead as a Dodo regardless of what some Conservatives may think."

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  • Taxman100  |  October 16 2012, 3:25PM

    I think accom and sarahjane2012 are about right, and their comments extremely poignant. wyrdsister. You made my day. I like your weird sense of humour, "Dumn onia". But note; Dumnonia was based on Devon, Cornwall, and parts of Somerset and Dorset - most appropriate don't you think. I can't stop laughing!

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  • sarajane2010  |  October 16 2012, 2:22PM

    My children live in cornwall and go to school at Launceston College with lots of children from Devon. I have friends who live in Devon. I really don't see what all the fuss is about. Constituencies should be decided on two factors,population and locality. Cornwall is not a seperate country it is a county. Devon and Cornwall have very similar employment and social issues and we have too many MPs for such a low population. On the plus side, hopefully the ineffective Dan Rogerson might be replaced with a real MP.

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  • AdrianDJones  |  October 16 2012, 2:22PM

    By having a cross-county border consituency you erode local identity. I was born in the City and county of Bristol, and grew up in Somerset ... until both were removed in 1973 and replaced with the anonymous county of Avon. If you erode local identity, you encourage a 'why should I care' attitude. Not very 'Big Society'. And surely the MP has an active engagement with the county council. A Devonwall will just double their workload in this respect, and may well find themselves facing conflicting interests from the two counties. It should have been part of the brief to the boundary commission to not go beyond any county border.

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  • Lafrowda  |  October 16 2012, 12:46PM

    Weird Sis. I suppose you would like the tugging of forelocks to become mandatory and the right of a husband to sell his wife at market too !

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  • Lafrowda  |  October 16 2012, 12:45PM

    It has more to do with the destruction of the County identity than anything else. Inter County sport was once a big thing, now even the Rugby County Championship doesn't make the papers. The larger cities are no longer referred to by the County they exist in. The old car numbers which revealed the County of registration have gone. Postcodes & nearest postal town is all you need for the mail. The COUNTY is being binned slowly but surely, and that robbery is being perpetrated on English & Cornish alike

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  • accom  |  October 16 2012, 12:34PM

    To be honest, who cares??? It's a constituency, for solely administrative purposes! It is NOT some attempt at eroding local identity. Who cares where their constituency borders are? It's only for the purpose of voting for someone every few years, it means nothing to local identity.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 16 2012, 12:31PM

    AT last some good news.

  • Jonny2010  |  October 16 2012, 12:08PM

    Divide and rule. English State policy as usual. Another excuse to say that Cornwall is part of England!

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  • kernewekonan  |  October 16 2012, 10:43AM

    well done to gilbert and all the other lib-dems they have achieved what has taken the english government hundreds of years to get their hands on the splitting up of kernow.what will be the next move? move down to centre then eventually the complete country of kernow. what a complete and utter usless shower.they all ought to hang their heads in shame but that won,t happen will it? more interested in power than the promises made before the election ie:- vote for us to keep the tories out was the cry what a lie what a big joke.

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  • Wyrdsister1  |  October 16 2012, 9:25AM

    Could we not return to being Dumnonia and obtain independence? That would surely be the best result for all. The first thing we could do is put a 300% tax on second/retirement homes then maybe Westcountry folk will be able to live in their own villages again.

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