Devonwall – A Boundary
Much has been in the news about the proposals by the Government for a change to the voting system and reducing the amount of MP’s. The first part I am opened minded. I am looking forward to evaluating the different voting methods before I nail my colours to the mast. The second part I am also in agreement in principle, but that part has a mighty sting in its tail.
That sting is with a reduction in MPs certain historical boarders could change. It could result in the first Cornwall-Devon Parliamentary seat. To a vast majority that is just a step too far. They believe Cornwall should remain whole with ether 5 or 6 MPs. This looks like its purely a numbers game. Each Constituency should contain the same amount of electorate with a margin of 5%. That does not work well for Cornwall. Because for 6 MPs it does not have enough voters, but for 5 its has too many. Hence the possible ‘sharing’ of an MP with Devon.
So, where are we now? Well last night Parliament voted in favour of this Bill. All the 6 Cornish MPs voted in favour, but this was only the second reading. It now passes onto the Committee stage where many believe the finer points will be argued and fought out. It will then return to Parliament for its final reading before going to the House of Lords, which will then return to Parliament to become law.
Simple? Well that’s until the Boundary Commission makes its report on how the seats should be divvied up. From my experience and listening to many others this Commission is a mystical beast, who seems to do what it pleases. Look at the previous Cornwall Unitary Boundaries. Many ancient parishes and boundaries were ignored just because of numbers. Much protest was made, but it changed little. I fear the new Parliamentary seats will be completed in the same way. Here is my previous Post on the Boundary Commission.
Today at Cornwall Council the Council voted in favour of fighting any plan(s) to share a seat with Devon. It will do everything in its power to stop this. That’s if the Commission will listen. Will all MPs fight this as well? Well I hope so, as to vote for a shared MP would surely cost them their seat at the next election.
What can the ‘Joe in the Street’ do? One very important thing they can do is to register to vote. Why? Well, the Commission is likely to use December 2010 electoral role for its information. It’s imperative that we have enough voters to retain the current boundaries, and not having to share it with our neighbours across the Tamar.