Cornish people have been officially declared as a national minority group along with the Welsh, Irish and Scots.

Now recognised alongside the more established members of Britain’s Celtic fringe, the Cornish will have the same rights and protections made under the European convention.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander 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.”

The status is a victory for campaigners, as the last three attempts to include the Cornish in the Framework Convention were previously unsuccessful.  Contributory factors to the recent success included the 84,000 people who declared themselves “Cornish” in the 2011 Census, and a further 41% of pupils in Cornwall’s schools that described themselves as Cornish in a 2011 school survey. Also, the Cornish language is enjoying a robust revival with 557 people claiming the Celtic dialect as their main language; a language which until 2010 was classified as extinct by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Dick Cole, leader of the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for a separate national assembly, told The Independent: “We are absolutely elated. The fact that Cornish culture, language and identity is now formally a national minority on a par with the Welsh, Scots and Irish is fantastic. We shall savour the moment.”

Cornwall is valued at £75bn (0.6%) of the economy, with a £1.1m average annual tourism revenue.