Mebyon Kernow

Mebyon Kernow

Web: www.mebyonkernow.org

Cornwall's own political party

Mebyon Kernow (Cornish for Sons of Cornwall) is a left-of-centre political party in Cornwall. It primarily campaigns for devolution to Cornwall in the form of a Cornish Assembly, as well as social democracy and environmental protection.

MK was formed as a pressure group in 1951, and contained as members activists and politicians from a number of political parties. Its first leader was Helena Charles. Its first election win came in 1953, with its members running as independents. In the 1970's it became a fully-fledged political party, and since then it has fielded candidates in elections to Westminster and the European Parliament, as well as local government in Cornwall.

Daphne du Maurier, the well known novelist, was at one point a member of Mebyon Kernow, as was Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP; he still remains sympathetic to many Cornish issues, but is no longer a member since they became a political party. David Mudd was also a member of the party in the 1970's.

In 2011, MK issued a statement saying it "accused the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition of treating Cornwall with absolute contempt" as a result of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which seeks to equalise the size of constituencies. An amendment to the bill by Lord Teverson that would have ensured that "all parts of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly must be included in constituencies that are wholly in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly" was defeated by 250 to 221 votes in the House of Lords with 95% of the aforementioned parties rejecting it. This was despite promises during the election in 2010 of both parties saying they would "stand up for Cornwall. But Cameron and Clegg have devised this Bill which will breach the territorial integrity of Cornwall." Mr Cameron replied to concerns about the "Devonwall" constituency by stating that "It's the Tamar, not the Amazon, for Heaven's sake"; a move that was read in the press as indicative of his plan not to oppose the merger of the constituencies in Devon and Cornwall.

Protests were planned in Saltash, by the historical boundary between Devon and Cornwall since the 10th century. Adam Killeya, the mayor of Saltash and the convenor of the Keep Cornwall Whole campaign, said that of the border that it was "ancient and distinctive" and most people wanted to continue with that status. However the campaign was unsuccessful, and the change may go ahead.

Party Leaders

Helena Charles (1951–1957)
Major Cecil Beer (1957–1960)
Robert Dunstone (1960–1968)
Len Truran (1968–1973)
Richard Jenkin (1973–1983)
Julyan Drew (1983–1985)
Pedyr Prior (1985–1986)
Loveday Carlyon (1986–1989)
Loveday Jenkin (1991–1997)
Dick Cole (1997–present)

Cornwall's History       Famous Cornish People