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The Cornish Nationalist Party (CNP; Cornish: An Parti Kenethlegek Kernow) is a political party, founded by Dr James Whetter, who campaigned for independence for Cornwall.[1] It was formed by people who left Cornwall's main nationalist party Mebyon Kernow on 28 May 1975,[2] but it is no longer for independence.[3]

Cornish Nationalist Party

An Parti Kenethlegek Kernow
Founded28 May 1975
Split fromMebyon Kernow
NewspaperThe Cornish Banner
IdeologyCornish nationalism
Cornish devolution
Political positionRight-wing
European affiliationNone
International affiliationNone
ColoursBlack & White
Cornwall Council
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A separate party with a similar name (Cornish National Party)[2] existed from 1969.[4]

The split with Mebyon Kernow was based on the same debate that was occurring in most of the other political parties campaigning for autonomy from the United Kingdom at the time (such as the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru): whether to be a centre-left party, appealing to the electorate on a social democratic line, or whether to appeal emotionally on a centre-right cultural line. Originally, another subject of the split was whether to embrace devolution as a first step to full independence (or as the sole step if this was what the electorate wished) or for it to be "all or nothing".[3]

The CNP essentially represented a more right-wing outlook from those who disagree that economic arguments were more likely to win votes than cultural. The CNP worked to preserve the identity of Cornwall and improve its economy, and encouraged links with Cornish people overseas and with other regions with distinct identities. It also gave support to the Cornish language and commemorated Thomas Flamank, a leader of the Cornish Rebellion in 1497, at an annual ceremony at Bodmin on 27 June each year.

While the CNP is not a racist organisation, there was a perceived image problem from the similarly-styled BNP and NF (the nativist British National Party and National Front[citation needed]). The CNP was for some time seen as more of a pressure group, as it did not put up candidates for any elections, although its visibility and influence within Cornwall is negligible. As of 2012, it is now registered on the UK political parties register, and so Mebyon Kernow is no longer the only registered political party based in Cornwall. In April 2009, a news story reported that the CNP had re-formed following a conference in Bodmin;[3] however, it did not contest any elections that year.

Whetter and the CNP still publish a quarterly journal, The Cornish Banner (An Baner Kernewek), within the actions of the Roseland Institute.

A newspaper article and a revamp of the party website in October 2014 state that the party is now to contest elections once more.[3]

John Le Bretton, vice-chairman of the party, said: "The CNP supports the retention of Cornwall council as a Cornwall-wide authority running Cornish affairs and we call for the British government in Westminster to devolve powers to the council so that decisions affecting Cornwall can be made in Cornwall".

The party's policies include the following:

  • Calling for more legislative powers to be given to Cornwall Council. The authority should effectively become the Cornish government, with town and parish councils acting as local government.
  • Cornwall council should have a reduction in councillors, with a standardisation of electoral areas and constituencies in throughout Cornwall.
  • The Westminster government should appoint a Minister for Cornwall and confirm there will be no further plans to have any parliamentary constituency covering part of Cornwall and Devon.

The CNP has one parish councillor, CNP leader Androw Hawke who was elected to Polperro Community Council for the second time on 4 May 2017.[5]

The reformed party was registered with the Electoral Commission in 2014, but ceased to be registered in September 2014.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Cornwall's full potential as an independent nation". Archived from the original on 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  2. ^ a b Mebyon Kernow and Cornish Nationalism by Dick Cole, Bernard Deacon, and Gary Tregidda
  3. ^ a b c d DaveCDM (2014-10-01). "The Cornish Nationalist Party reforms as a political party". The West Briton. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  4. ^ In 1969 a CNP was formed. Archived March 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Polperro CC - Councillors".
  6. ^ Registration - The Cornish Nationalist Party (De-registered 15/02/17).

External linksEdit