Report (3rd Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 9th February 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Sub-Committee C - Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy 5:30 pm, 9th February 2011

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for his reply, but I am deeply disappointed by it. Perhaps I might first take up the issue raised by my noble friend Lord Newton of Braintree. I stress again that I am not just talking about physical rivers and saying, "Those are the boundaries". The Tamar is a symbol of that boundary, rather than the river itself. Other rivers act as boundaries which this Bill does not allow to be crossed. Much of the passage of the Wye, at its south, is the border between Wales and England, and the Bill does not allow that to be crossed. How does Cornwall see itself? Some call it a nation; others see it as a historic nation of the United Kingdom.

I also disagree with the Minister on the importance of this. I stood for South East Cornwall in the 1992 election, and I was blessed with a visit from my noble friend Lord Ashdown. He was going to walk with me and all the media-there was a question of a hung Parliament at the time-down the high street in Saltash. He got off his battle bus and said to the gathered press of the south-west and the nation, "It's great to be back in Devon". That is why I never became a Member of the other House. Cornwall really believes in its own destiny, its future and its contribution to the United Kingdom, but it wants its own parliamentary constituencies, and on that basis, I wish to test the opinion of the House.