Sheryll Murray – 2015 Speech on the Loyal Address

Below is the text of the speech made by Sheryll Murray in the House of Commons on 27 May 2015.

It is an honour to be invited to second this Humble Address, which was proposed so eloquently by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns). He has the pleasure of representing an area that differs considerably from my own, although I am sure many of his constituents have had fantastic holidays in the beautiful Duchy of Cornwall.

This honour really belongs to the people who live in South East Cornwall, and I am proud that they have chosen me to represent them in this place for a further term. South East Cornwall is where I have always called home: it is where I was born, where I was schooled, where I have worked and where I am proud to call home. Anyone who has visited my beautiful constituency, who has walked the rugged coastline or explored the wonderful countryside and met the warm, genuine folk of Cornwall will understand why it is where my heart lies.

I think I am right in saying that I am the first Cornish maid to second the Loyal Address, although back in 1971 the proposer was the Member of Parliament for St Ives. I am pleased to welcome the new Conservative representative, my hon. Friend the Member for St Ives (Derek Thomas), although he did keep us waiting: his constituency was the last to declare.

During the election campaign, the Prime Minister visited Cornwall on a number of occasions. On one occasion, a group of enthusiastic party supporters were summoned to a large cowshed to meet him: that is the way we do things in Cornwall. In his rallying speech, he mentioned how glad he was to be in the county of Poldark. Like Poldark, the Prime Minister rode into Cornwall—not on a horse, but on a bus—where he was introduced to all those who were waiting by my hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Scott Mann), who himself has been likened to Aidan Turner, the actor who played Ross Poldark.

On the morning of 8 May, as votes were counted in that same cowshed, it became evident that true-blue representation throughout Cornwall was on course to double when my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) was elected. The Prime Minister can now tell his wife that, like Ross Poldark, he has his own six-pack—six blue constituencies in Poldark’s county—and that three new Conservative Members are joining me and my hon. Friends the Members for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) and for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice).

The result of the general election was a surprise to many people. Cornwall is surrounded by blue water, and the blue tide rose, sweeping across the duchy, but it did not stop at the Tamar. It crossed into Plymouth, where a new Member, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer), joined my hon. Friends the Members for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile) and for South West Devon (Mr Streeter). The tide swept across Devon, and halted only when it reached the constituency of the right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw), where his defences could not quite be penetrated. I know from experience in my own constituency that water does have a way, so he should be warned.

I look forward to working with colleagues from Devon, and with other west country Members, but I want to set a clear ground rule for my right hon. and hon. Friends. Given that I am Cornish born and bred, it will comes as no surprise to hear me mention clotted cream. I say to my colleagues, “Please note: the jam must come first on the scone, before the cream.” If they agree, I am sure that we shall get along fine. I pay tribute to the Prime Minister for putting his jam and cream on a scone in the proper way. It has been said that the only reason those in Devon prepare their cream teas incorrectly is their wish to hide their use of clotted cream with the jam.

A number of dairy farmers in my constituency and elsewhere have diversified, producing not only cream but cheese. The Gracious Speech supports aspiration and small businesses like those producers, and I am sure that they will welcome it.

Many of my constituents told me that they had been waiting for an EU referendum Bill for a very long time, and were fed up with hearing that it would be provided directly by Opposition Members. I am delighted that the Bill is at last going to happen, and I welcome the fact that the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) has changed her mind and decided to support it. I shall not dwell on the fact that she has changed her mind; women do.

I cannot end without passing on special thanks to the Prime Minister from the residents of my home villages, Kingsand and Cawsand. Last Saturday, I attended the reopening of the newly repaired clock tower, and the Prime Minister’s help in making this historic building survive was acknowledged. The building was reopened by 102-year-old Doll Jago, who is the oldest resident in the village. It was extremely special for me because Doll’s late son, Tony, first introduced my late husband Neil to commercial fishing.

It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of Cornwall, to commend the Gracious Speech to the House.