Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council
Cornwall Council
Konsel Kernow
1st unitary term
Coat of arms or logo
Type Unicameral
Leader of the Council Alec Robertson
Chief Executive Kevin Lavery
Members 123
Cornwall Council composition May 2011.png
Political groups  Conservative
 Liberal Democrat
 Mebyon Kernow
Voting system First past the post
Last election 4 June 2009
Meeting place
New County Hall.jpg
Lys Kernow, Truro

Cornwall Council (Cornish: Konsel Kernow) is the unitary authority for Cornwall, in England, United Kingdom. The council, and its predecessor Cornwall County Council, has a tradition of large groups of independents, having been controlled by independents in the 1970s and 1980s. As of the 2009 election, it is run by a Conservative-Independent coalition.

Cornwall Council provides a wide range of services to more than half a million residents, has an annual budget of more than £1 billion and is the biggest employer in Cornwall with a staff of over 22,000.[1][2] It is responsible for schools, social services, rubbish collection, roads, planning and more.

Cornwall's unitary authority, as its bid document endorsed by Parliament states, is a "stepping stone to a Cornish Assembly". It has been suggested that powers and privileges, belonging to the Duchy and Stannaries of Cornwall, could be merged with the unitary authority to achieve this goal.[3] In November 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that his government would "devolve a lot of power to Cornwall - that will go to the Cornish unitary authority."[4] Talks are currently under way between the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and a cross party group, including the six Cornish MPs, as to how to bring about the devolution of powers to Cornwall.[5]

Various fact finding missions have been organised by councillors to study how other regions and small nations of europe govern themselves successfully. In 2011 Andrew Long of Mebyon Kernow was invited to visit the Estonian Parliament by Aare Heinvee MP of the Reformierakond (Reform Party). He said that it was "a great opportunity to see how a small nation can run its own affairs while being an equal and active part of a wider Europe."[6] Independent councillor Bert Biscoe organised a fact finding mission to Guernsey in 2011 to see if the island's system of government could be adapted to work in Cornwall.[7]


Establishment of the unitary authority

Before April 2009, Cornwall was administered as a non-metropolitan county by the Cornwall County Council with six districts, Caradon, Carrick, Kerrier, North Cornwall, Penwith, and Restormel. The Council of the Isles of Scilly was and remains a separate unitary authority.

On 5 December 2007, the Government confirmed that Cornwall would move to unitary status.[8] This was enacted by statutory instrument as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England,[9] The changes took effect on 1 April 2009. On that date the six districts and Cornwall County Council were abolished and were replaced by Cornwall Council.

Logo controversy

The proposed new logo, dropped in January 2009

The original proposals for a new logo and motto for Cornwall's new unitary authority were met with widespread criticism from the general public with demands that the old logo and motto be kept.[10][11][12][13] On 29 January 2009, the Cornwall Council Implementation Executive decided to revert to using the former County Council logo with just a change in name from "Cornwall County Council" to "Cornwall Council".[14]

In March 2009, the leader of Cornwall County Council David Whalley announced he would be standing down as a councillor, complaining of personal attacks against him.[15]

The current logo features a chough and the 15 Cornish golden bezants on a black field as used in the arms of the Duchy of Cornwall.[14]

Name changes

On the creation of the new unitary authority it was decided that the name of the council would be changed from Cornwall County Council to Cornwall Council (Konsel Kernow). It has also been decided by the council to change the name of their meeting place from New County Hall to Lys Kernow (Cornwall Hall) so as to not use the term county.[16]


Cornwall Council is currently controlled by no overall majority. Composition of Cornwall Council since January 2011:

Party Councillors
Conservative 47
Liberal Democrat 40
Independent 30
Mebyon Kernow 4
Labour 1
Independent (non affiliated) 1
Total 123

Elections and changes

2009 Cornwall Council elections

Elections for the new unitary Cornwall Council were held on 4 June 2009 and there were 123 members elected, replacing the previous 82 councillors on Cornwall County Council and the 249 on the six district councils.[18] The outgoing Cornwall County Council had 48 Liberal Democrat members, nine Conservatives, five Labour, one from the small Liberal Party with the remaining 19 seats held by Independent candidates. Mebyon Kernow had no county councillors, but nine district councillors, before the two-tier system was abolished.[19]

The Lib Dems lost overall control of Cornwall Council to 'no overall control' - this means that no single party has overall control of the new council despite the Conservatives have the largest number of councillors, however they do not have enough for a majority control.[20] The cabinet of the council was therefore formed as a coalition between the Conservatives and the Independent bloc.[21] The Conservatives received 34% of the vote (50 seats), followed by the Liberal Democrats on 28% (38 seats), the Independents on 23% (32 seats) and Mebyon Kernow on 4% (3 seats). The turnout was 41%. Labour, the Green Party, UKIP and the BNP failed to secure any seats in Cornwall.[22]

2009 St Austell Bay by-election

In a by-election in the St Austell Bay electoral ward on 26 November 2009, the Liberal Democrats gained the seat from the Conservatives. Three parties contested the seat, the Liberal Democrats got 48% of the vote, the Conservatives got 47%, and Labour got 5%.[23]

2010 Stithians defection

In August 2010, Councillor Neil Plummer of Stithians left the Independent group and joined Mebyon Kernow.[24]

2011 Camborne North by-election

Labour gained their first seat on the council in January 2011 after winning a by-election in the Camborne North ward by 27 votes. This was a gain from the Conservative Party, after their councillor resigned.[25]

2011 Liskeard North defection

In June 2011 Liskeard North councillor Jan Powell defected from the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats.[26]

Council history

Old County Hall in Truro, which used to be the Council HQ, but is now used for other council offices and is the HQ for Cornwall Fire and Rescue and also houses the county's fire control room

The following table shows party control of the Cornwall Council and its predecessor Cornwall County Council, following each election since 1973.

Year Control
1973 Independent
1977 Independent
1981 Independent
1985 No overall control
1989 No overall control
1993 Liberal Democrat
1997 No overall control
2001 No overall control
2005 Liberal Democrat
2009 No overall control


  1. ^ "We shall overcome – on polling day". Cornwall & Devon Media Ltd. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  2. ^ "Council elections 2009: Cornwall". BBC. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  3. ^ Bert Biscoe, The Duchy is a sovereign land – not a private company, Western Morning News, Saturday 5 November 2011 -
  4. ^
  5. ^ Western Morning News, Clegg to discuss greater powers for Duchy with Cornish MPs, November 16th 2011 -
  6. ^ An Estonian inspiration -
  7. ^ Guernsey government may be model for Cornwall -
  8. ^ "Unitary status agreed for council". BBC. 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  9. ^ "Cornwall (Structural Change) Order 2008". Office of Public Sector Information. 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  10. ^ "Motto mauled as 'sop to Cornish'". BBC. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  11. ^ "Council logo 'a waste of money'". BBC. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  12. ^ "Council logo 'like Don King hair'". BBC. 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  13. ^ "Mebyon Kernow votes against new logo". Mebyon Kernow. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  14. ^ a b "Implementation Executive decide on logo for new Cornwall Council". Cornwall Council. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  15. ^ "Cornwall Council leader David Whalley quits". BBC. 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Political Composition". Cornwall Council. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Electoral divisions". Cornwall County. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  19. ^ "First election for new authority". BBC. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  20. ^ "Lib Dems lose control of Cornwall". BBC. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  21. ^ "Committee details". Cornwall Council. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  22. ^ "Cornwall Council elections - Thursday, 4th June, 2009". Cornwall Council. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  23. ^ Cornwall Council - St Austell Bay By-election - Thursday, 26th November, 2009
  24. ^ Dick Cole: Cllr Neil Plummer joins MK group
  25. ^ Thomas, David (14 January 2011). "Labour sees massive swing to triumph in Camborne North election for Cornwall Council". Falmouth Packet. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  26. ^ Smith, Graham (17 June 2011). "an Powell quits Tories and joins Lib Dems". Retrieved 20 September 2011. 

External links

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