A Government Minister has hinted that the law which gives people second votes to go with their second homes could be changed
Lord Taylor of Holbeach was responding to a question by Lord Teverson, the latest in a series of Cornish Liberal Democrats to raise the issue at Westminster.
Lord Teverson says second home owners should be forced to designate one property as their main residence (rather like Honourable and Right Honourable members and noble Lords). They would then get just one vote attached to this address.
Cornwall Council, which presides over nearly 14,000 second homes, backs the idea and Lord Taylor said he could confirm that "the Government are considering this further."
At the moment people who qualify for the electoral roll in two local authority areas get to vote in both places in local elections and can choose to vote in one or the other in a general election.
But you don't just get handed a second vote automatically when you buy a holiday home. You're only entitled to a piece of the double-voting action if you qualify for inclusion on the electoral roll. And, on paper at least, that's a big if.
According to the Electoral Commission's website, "a person with two homes who spends about the same amount of time in each can be lawfully registered at both addresses. However, it is unlikely that ownership of a second home that is used only for recreational purposes would meet the residency qualification."
This clearly excludes the stereotypical second home owner who just pops down to enjoy himself for a few weeks in the summer.
But figures produced by Cornwall Council show that a fifth of the county's second homes - 2,653 properties - had at least one householder on the electoral roll last September. The council tells us it's since deleted 947 of these electors, following the intensified political interest in the issue.
Even if you assume that every house is owned by a singleton, that still leaves a minimum of 1,700 second home owners who apparently live in Cornwall for half the year and aren't just doing so to enjoy the county's myriad pleasures.
And given that most of them have probably embraced family life in one form or another, the number is almost certainly far higher.
All of this could be set to change if the Government is in earnest about amending the law. That, though, is difficult to gauge.
Lord Taylor did indeed assure Lord Teverson that the Government were "considering this further". Just seconds earlier, though, he inisisted the Government had "no current plans to restrict the right of second home owners who meet the residence requirement to register in two places."
But Lord Teverson is upbeat about developments.
"I take the crumb of comfort," he says. "And I think it's more than that - a Government Minister doesn't say that at the despatch box unless it's serious."