An icon of the Cornish Penhaligon dynasty has revealed she’s torn up her subscription to the Lib Dems because it’s no longer “the old Liberal Party that my 2nd cousin David nearly led.”
Susan Penhaligon, known to generations of TV viewers and filmgoers first as the ‘British Bardot’ and later as an accomplished actress, has turned her back on the Liberals – in favour of Cornish Nationalists Mebyon Kernow.
The 63 year old actress and writer is throwing her substantial cultural weight behind Penzance election candidate Rob Simmons.
And in backing the young hopeful she’s issued a damning indictment on the Coalition tainted Lib Dems.
Susan is second cousin to Liberal legend and all-time Cornish political heavyweight David Penhaligon.
The Lib Dem bruiser, described by commentator Hugo Young as having “a closer grasp of national electoral politics than any other Liberal MP” came close to leading the party in their SDP heyday.
He died in a tragic car accident on an icy road at Probus in December 1986.
It’s almost unheard of for a Penhaligon to renounce the party over which their famous forebear casts such a long shadow.
Son Matthew is an ardent Lib Dem who ran for Mayor of Hackney in 2006 under the party banner, and Matthew Taylor, until recently MP for Newquay and St Austell, was always most widely recognised as David Penhaligons former researcher.
But Susan Penhaligon says she’s sick of the mainstream party.
In a ringing endorsement of MK, the mother of one, who now lives on a Dutch Barge in London but spent a happy early childhood growing up in Falmouth, claims she ‘would door knock’ for the Cornish Nationalists, if she wasn’t so far away.
Susan explained: “I spent my formative years in Cornwall and I come from a Cornish family I’ve traced back to the 17th century, my 2nd cousin was the Liberal MP David Penhaligon.
“I was brought up for a while by my granny in Falmouth. She was a passionate Cornish woman and she taught me that Cornwall was different and Celtic and special.”
She went on: “I believe that Rob Simmons is passionate about local issues and Cornwall too. You need his voice, his ideas and energy on Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council.
“In my heart, I cannot understand how a central government in London can understand Cornish issues and what is best for Cornish communities.
“Take one issue alone, I don’t believe central government understands how empty, second homes can devastate a community and take housing away from locals who want to stay and work in Cornwall.
“This is a particular Cornish problem because Cornwall is a place of rare beauty and people want to own holiday property.
You need a Cornish voice to understand the local issues and Rob Simmons is that voice.”
Then in stinging post-script she adds: “I’m cancelling my subscription to the Lib Dems today.
“It’s not the old Liberal Party that my 2nd cousin David Penhaligon nearly led.”
Rob commented of his celebrity endorsement: “Susan Penhaligon takes a keen interest in the politics of Cornwall despite her acting career taking her up country to live.
“Anyway she expressed an interest in my election campaign – and even said she’d door knock with me if she wasn’t so far away. So I asked if she minded writing me a recommendation, and so she did.”