Friday, 28 January 2011

Tev presses the Government over second home voting

My council colleague Robin Teverson has been hard at work in the House of Lords pressing Cornwall's case for clarification over the rights of second home owners to cast a vote in elections based on their holiday homes.

The issue has been a longstanding one in Cornwall where around one in twenty houses is a second home and, in some areas, the figure is more than one in ten. There is a fear that second home owners are choosing to use their votes in Cornwall and could swing elections even if they spend very little time here and have no knowledge of local politics.

Cornwall Council agreed that we should highlight our concerns to the Government and Chief Executive Kevin Lavery wrote recommending that a person should only be able to vote from their main residence.

Robin made that case again today and, disappointingly, the Minister, Lord Taylor, said the Government has no plans to make a change in the law but will keep the issue under review. This is a polite way of saying no.

This is a blow to Cornwall where the registration officers feel the current law is so unclear that they cannot issue proper guidance to people seeking to register. Whilst Cornwall Council feels it has identified a good way forward, we accept that other people have a different point of view. But what is quite clear is that the current law is inadequate.

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