Cornish Nationalist Party

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Not to be confused with Mebyon Kernow.
Cornish Nationalist Party
Leader James Whetter
Founded 1975-2005
Ideology Cornish independence,
Cornish nationalism
Political position Right-wing
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

The Cornish Nationalist Party (CNP), Cornish: Party Kenethlegek Kernow, was a political party in England, United Kingdom, led by Dr James Whetter which 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]

A separate party with a similar name (the Cornish National Party)[2] existed from 1969.[3]

The split with Mebyon Kernow was down to the same debate that was occurring in most of the political parties campaigning for autonomy from the United Kingdom at the time (for example 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. 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".

The CNP essentially represented a more right wing outlook, who were not willing to accept 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 which have 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 were not a racist organisation there was a perceived image problem relating to the similarly-styled British National Party (BNP). Today, the Cornish Nationalist Party is seen as more of a pressure group as they do not put up candidates for any elections, although their visibility and influence within Cornwall is negligible. As of 2012, they are not registered on the UK political parties register; Mebyon Kernow are the only registered political party based in Cornwall[citation needed]. A news story appeared in April 2009 claiming that the CNP had reformed following a conference in Bodmin,[4] however it did not contest any elections that year.

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cornwall's full potential as an independent nation". Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  2. ^ a b Mebyon Kernow and Cornish Nationalism by Dick Cole, Bernard Deacon, and Gary Tregidda
  3. ^ In 1969 a CNP was formed.
  4. ^

External links[edit]