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Hundreds gather in protest of 'Devonwall' constituency

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: October 14, 2010

Some of the speakers sing Trelawny at the end of the rally against plans to create a constituency which covers parts of Cornwall and Devon.

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HUNDREDS of people gathered on the Cornish banks of the River Tamar at the weekend to campaign against plans to create a parliamentary constituency which covers the Cornwall and Devon border.

The Keep Cornwall Whole event saw protestors waving St Piran flags and singing Cornish songs as they came together to express their anger over the possibility of an MP having to cover a 'Devonwall' constituency.

Under Government plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and keep constituency populations similar in size, it is likely that parts of South East Cornwall would be merged with parts of Plymouth, or parts of North Cornwall with Devon.

At the weekend protestors marched down the Cornish border from top to bottom with meetings along the way with speakers giving their thoughts on the plans.

They finished in Saltash where a flotilla crossed the Tamar while protestors gathered at Jubilee Green.

Speakers at the event included Adam Killeya, the mayor of Saltash and the driving force behind Keep Cornwall Whole, Edward Andrews, mayor of Torpoint, Mick Paynter Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorseth, Cornwall Council chairman Pat Harvey, Conservative MP Sheryl Murray and Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert, Mebyon Kernow's deputy leader Andrew Long, Jen Forbes, from the Cornwall Labour Party, and UKIP MEP Trevor Colman.

A number of speakers made reference to David Cameron's comments caught on camera last week when he said: "It's the Tamar – not the Amazon for heaven's sake".

Mr Long said: "Mr Cameron, we do not need a lesson on geography from you. However, you seem to need a history lesson from us.

"This great river is not just a line on a map. It is not just any river. The Tamar marks the national boundary of Cornwall and it has marked our national boundary for more than 1,000 years.

"Its integrity needs to be protected, just as the national borders between Wales and England and Scotland and England are respected."

Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: "This is about more than simply nationalism, it's about having MPs in Cornwall who are focussed on the job at hand of building the Cornish economy for the 21st century. MPs can't do that if they have an eye on two sharply contrasting communities.

"My job is to stand up for Cornwall in the tradition of Liberals before me like David Penhaligon. If necessary I'll be voting against the Government and for an amendment that protects Cornwall and county boundaries across the UK."

He finished by calling on as many people as possible to write to the Prime Minister about the issue, saying: "We need to flood Downing Street with letters. If you haven't written, write now. If you've already written, write again. Don't leave it to someone else, get your family, friends and colleagues to write. Let's flood Downing Street with letters and show that Cornwall stands united in defence of our historic border."

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