Cornish MPs Dan Rogerson, Stephen Gilbert and Andrew George say that the campaign to “Keep Cornwall Whole” could succeed today if everyone sticks to their guns.
The constituency boundary changes are being debated in the Commons this afternoon (January 29) and if the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has his way, it would lead to the creation of a ‘Devonwall’ constituency, and the “dismantling of the Cornish border” – a move fiercely opposed by local people.
Cameron wants to overturn a defeat by peers earlier this month, which would see the planned constituency shake-up postponed until 2018 at the earliest.
Speaking prior to the debate, MP for St Ives Andrew George said: “This is our best chance to defeat plans to dismantle the Cornish border. We’ve stood together before, across all parties and none, shoulder to shoulder. Today’s vote is the one that really counts. This is the moment when sincerity to Cornwall is tested. Surely no-one will bottle it now – I certainly won’t.”
Dan Rogerson, whose north Cornwall constituency would be particularly affected if the changes are made, said: “North Cornwall is totally opposed to border change. We’re looking to all parties to stick together on this.”
Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay, appealed to his Conservative colleagues to put the wishes of their constituents above the party line: He said: “It would be very disappointing if Cornwall’s Conservative MPs care more about the party whip than they do about the interests of the people of Cornwall.”