Richard Whitehouse surveys the background to Cornwall's relationship with the European Union Last Friday was…
Brexit splits the anti-Tory vote and Cornwall stays true blue
By Graham Smith
The Conservative Party has held five of the six Parliamentary constituencies in Cornwall, with a set of results very similar to the last general election. The sixth result, St Ives, is still being counted after poor weather delayed the transfer of ballot boxes on the Isles of Scilly.
The big difference between 2017 and today is that Cornwall’s Tory MPs are now part of a Boris Johnson government with a clear working majority, and a mandate to “Get Brexit Done."
Sheryll Murray, Scott Mann, Steve Double and George Eustice will all be returning to Westminster. Mrs Murray, Mr Mann and Mr Eustice have all seen significant increases in their majorities. Cherilyn Mackrory will be joining them as the new Conservative MP for Truro & Falmouth.
It will be this afternoon before we know the St Ives result. Counting has been suspended until 2.30pm because some ballot boxes are still on the off-islands of the Isles of Scilly.
A detailed analysis may take a few days, but the initial impressions shared across all the political parties is that while the pro-Brexit vote coalesced around the Conservative Party, the anti-Brexit vote divided the opposition in those seats where the Tories might have been vulnerable.
The first Cornish seat to declare was Truro & Falmouth, the only Cornish constituency which voted to remain in the European Union in 2016. Both Conservative and Labour increased their share of the vote, but the Tory majority increased slightly to 4,561 thanks in part to nearly 9,000 voters who backed the Liberal Democrats and Greens.
Every other Cornish constituency voted in favour of Brexit in 2016 and this was reflected in the other election results. The Conservatives were particularly pleased with their result in Camborne & Redruth, where they increased significantly both their majority and their share of the vote.
For both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the result is a catastrophe. The Labour Party now faces a long period of introspection while it reconsiders its approach to "cultural conservatism" in the North – aware that by the time it next has the opportunity to fight an election, the Brexit question will no longer be around to be answered.
Many Labour activists were last night angry that their party had not taken a clear position on Brexit.
The Liberal Democrats, who have not won a Parliamentary seat in Cornwall since 2010, remained in third place in four Cornish constituencies. It will now be 2024 before they get a chance to improve. Lib Dem activists said last night that their party’s best known policy – to Revoke Article 50 and stay in the European Union – had been very unpopular with Cornish voters.
The Green Party again failed to break through and Mebyon Kernow’s sole candidate, party leader Dick Cole, again failed to save his deposit in St Austell and Newquay.
CAMBORNE, REDRUTH & HAYLE
George Eustice, Conservative 26,764 (53%)
Paul Farmer, Labour 18,064 (36%)
Florence MacDonald, Liberal Democrat 3,504 (7%)
Karen La Borde, Green Party 1,359 (3%)
Paul Holmes, Liberal Party 676
Truro & Falmouth was the first Cornish constituency to declare last night
Scott Mann, Conservative 30,671 (59%)
Danny Chambers, Liberal Democrat 15,919 (31%)
Joy Bassett, Labour 4,516 (9%)
Elmars Liepins, Liberal Party 572
Derek Thomas, Conservative 25,365
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat 21,085
Alana Bates, Labour 3,553
Ian Flindall, Green Party 964
Robert Smith, Liberal Party 314
John Harris, The Common People 132
TRURO & FALMOUTH
Cherilyn Mackrory, Conservative 27,237 (46%)
Jennifer Forbes, Labour 22,676 (38%)
Ruth Gripper, Liberal Democrat 7,150 (12%)
Tom Scott, Green Party 1,714 (3%)
Paul Nicholson, Liberal Party 413
SOUTH EAST CORNWALL
Sheryll Murray, Conservative 31,807 (59%)
Gareth Derrick, Labour 10,836 (20%)
Colin Martin, Liberal Democrat 8,650 (16%)
Martha Green, Green Party 1,493 (3%)
Jay Latham, Liberal Party 869
ST AUSTELL & NEWQUAY
Steve Double, Conservative 31,273 (56%)
Felicity Owen, Labour 14,747 (26%)
Tim Styles, Liberal Democrat 5,861 (10%)
Dick Cole, Mebyon Kernow 1,660 (3%)
Collin Harker, Green Party 1,609 (3%)
Richard Byrne, Liberal Party 626