by Jeremy Rowe on 10 June, 2010
I have tabled a question to next week’s Cornwall Council meeting regarding the issue of second home owners casting their votes in Cornwall when their primary place of residence is elsewhere.
I am by no means the first to make noises on this issue. There has been a long-running debate on the Cornwall24 internet forum, Dan Rogerson MP has raised this issue in parliament and Angus Lamond, a candidate in last year’s Cornwall Council election, has been banging the drum for some time now. (The BBC’s Graham Smith has also reported on this issue – apologies if I’ve missed anyone else out.)
The principle here is a simple one: if you are lucky enough to have two places of residence, then surely you should be registered to vote at the address at which you spend most of your time. There is some suggestion that second home owners might be encouraged to register their vote in one of Cornwall’s more marginal constituencies, particularly if their primary residence is within a safe seat somewhere else. It’s easy to see why this might be attractive to some of the more politically active voters who have the choice.
But when two of Cornwall’s six parliamentary constituencies were decided by fewer than 500 votes (one by a mere 66 votes), it does call into question whether the final decision was made by those who actually live and work in Cornwall, or by those who only spend a few weeks a year in some of our more picturesque seaside villages.
I will be interested to hear from the Leader of the Council what action (if any) he is taking to press the case for reform with the new government.1 Comment