Tory drubbing in Cornwall happens 'once a century'

Anna Gelderd
Anna Gelderd was elected the Labour MP for South East Cornwall [BBC]

Cornwall has experienced a "once-in-a-century" political event after the Conservatives lost every seat in the county, analysts have said.

The party had held all six Cornish seats but the county is now represented by four Labour MPs and two Liberal Democrat MPs.

South East Cornwall and St Austell and Newquay constituents elected Labour MPs for the first time.

Dr Stuart Fox, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter, said it was "quite remarkable" the Tories no longer had representation in the county.

"It's certainly a once-in-a-century event for Cornwall, of that there is no doubt," he said.

"For the Conservatives to have no representation in a part of the country that you would call a traditional core vote, is really quite remarkable."

'Conservative collapse'

Dr Fox said the Liberal Democrats had made "astounding progress" in rebuilding some of their former strongholds after being elected in the constituencies St Ives and North Cornwall.

"Part of the reason the Tories have always done so well is that there is a lot of land, and a lot of land owners in Cornwall," he said.

"This is part of the Conservative core vote, but you've also got lots of farming communities and small rural villages, which are core Conservative voters."

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Dr Fox said he did not think Labour had been "embraced" despite the party now having two MPs in Cornwall.

"If you could describe what's happening in Cornwall in a simple way, Cornwall is rejecting the Conservative Party for a number of alternatives," he said.

"Really it's because Reform has eaten into the Conservative vote to such an extent that it's lowered the bar that Labour or the Liberal Democrats have had to cross in order to win."

Adie Dove
Adie Dove said change in Cornwall was "desperately needed" [BBC]

Adrian Lee, another political analyst, said the Conservative vote in Cornwall had not "just collapsed, but fractured" and it was "historic" that South East Cornwall elected a Labour MP.

"To find a change as big as this you'd have to go right back to the Liberal full sweep that took place in 1923 and got reversed again in 1924," he said.

"About a third of the Conservative vote in South East Cornwall has gone."

Mr Lee said the uniformity of the Reform vote in Cornwall was particularly remarkable.

He said: "If you look at the variation of Labour and Liberal Democrat votes in Cornwall, there was clearly a certain amount of tactical voting going on, and given you've got the Conservative collapse and rise of Reform, it's partly camouflaged whatever tactical voting was going on."

The BBC spoke to people around Cornwall after the results were declared.

Bodmin resident Adie Dove said change was "so desperately needed for such a long time".

John Hosking
John Hosking said he thought the election was "only ever going to go one way" [BBC]

John Hosking, who lives near Liskeard, said he thought Sheryll Murray, who lost her South East Cornwall seat, was "paying the price for the Tories' performance nationally".

"I think the Conservatives lost this election the moment Liz Truss walked through the door," he said.

"This election was only ever going to go one way."

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