England

Lord Myners speaks out against 'Devonwall' plan

Bridges across River Tamar
Image caption A new constituency could include both sides of the River Tamar

A former Labour minister has spoken strongly against his native Cornwall having to share MPs with Devon.

Lord Myners was speaking during a House of Lords debate considering delaying a referendum on the voting system.

The peer, who grew up in Truro, said he did not approve of any boundary change "which strikes at the heart of the identity of Cornwall".

Labour peers lost their motion to delay the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.

'Devonwall' constituency

As well as the plans for a referendum on voting changes, the bill also proposes that all constituencies would be required to have roughly the same number of voters.

One possible constituency could incorporate two sides of the River Tamar, which bounds parts of Devon and Cornwall, creating a so-called "Devonwall" constituency.

Labour peers wanted to refer the legislation, which has a tight parliamentary timetable, to legislative experts, but they lost by 224 votes to 210 on Monday.

The bill must go through Parliament quickly if a referendum is to be held on 5 May 2011.

The Boundary Commission has until 2013 to make its final recommendations on constituency changes.

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