UK & World News
Cornish Get Minority Rights And Protections
The Cornish have been officially recognised as a national minority group alongside the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.
Residents of the far-flung county in the South West will be accorded the same rights and protections as other minorities in the UK, Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has announced.
The Cornish will be classified under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, meaning the Government must agree to "combat discrimination and promote equality".
Whitehall departments and other public bodies will be required to take Cornish views into account when making decisions.
It follows concerns among campaigners in recent years that policies affecting the Cornish were being made in London without them being considered.
This was highlighted during the protests against the controversial "pasty tax" in 2012.
Half a million people signed a petition against the move, while thousands marched through Cornwall and in Westminster in an ultimately successful campaign to get the Government to rethink plans to slap VAT on hot Cornish pasties.
Official recognition could also have economic benefits by helping strengthen the Cornish brand.
Among those who could gain from the new status is David Cameron's daughter, Florence, who was born during a family holiday in Cornwall in 2010.
Mr Alexander, who is visiting Bodmin, said: "Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK."
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: "This is a great day for the people of Cornwall who have long-campaigned for the distinctiveness and identity of the Cornish people to be recognised officially.
"The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing Saint Piran's Flag flying with extra Celtic pride on March 5 next year."
The announcement follows the official recognition of the Cornish language back in 2002.
In March, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government would be investing a further £120,000 into the Cornish Language Partnership to promote and develop the language.
Campaigners have long argued Cornwall deserves special measures - including economic concessions, such as reductions in fuel duty - in recognition of its geographical location and cultural heritage.
Dick Cole, leader of Cornish independence party Mebyon Kernow, said: "This is a fantastic development.
"A lot of people have been working for many years to get Cornwall the recognition other Celtic people of the UK already receive.
"The detail is still to come out on what this might mean, but make no mistake that this is a proud day for Cornwall."
Fellow campaigner and comedian Edward Rowe, also known as the Kernow King, added: "This is obviously great news for the people of Cornwall.
"I think there is always going to be a certain degree of pessimism when politicians are involved - are they going to be chasing votes, for example.
"But it is great for Cornwall to get the recognition for its culture and heritage that it deserves."