2 December 2009

An attempt in the House of Commons to add Cornish to the list of named national identities (English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish) in the 2011 census for England and Wales was defeated decisively by 261- 49 votes.

As far as I can see the 49 comprised: 43 Liberal Democrats, 3 Independents, 2 Labour, and 1 Welsh Nationalist (Plaid Cymru). Both tellers were Liberal Democrats. The figures suggest it was an official Liberal Democrat vote.

Details of the vote: Hansard 1 December 2009 column 1030

Note added 3 December 2009
I understand that there will be two relevant sections of the 2011 census for England: one for national identity and one for ethnic group. I shall focus here on what will apply to the vast majority of people in Cornwall.

National identity will comprise separate tick boxes for English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British, and Other, the last giving a facility to write in any other national identity. You will be able to tick more than one national identity box.

Ethnic group will contain a new one with one tick box: ‘White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British’ plus Any other white background and a write-in facility. There will thus not be a separate tick box for ethnic English or Welsh or Scottish or Northern Irish or British. You are asked to choose only one ethnic group.

On the census both national identity and ethnic group are seen as subjective, that is assignment to them is by self-description.

To describe your national identity as specifically Cornish, you will have to write in that in the national identity section. To describe your ethnic group as specifically Cornish or specifically English or specifically British you will have to write in that in the ethnic group section.