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Details Of Mersey Gateway Royal Protest Revealed

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 12:35pm

By Faye Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

Campaigners who oppose Mersey Gateway tolls have said their protest against Meghan Markle and the Queen visiting Widnes this Thursday will be good publicity for their cause. 

Scrap Mersey Tolls (SMT), a campaign group staunchly opposed to charges on the Gateway bridge,  brought forward  a protest that by coincidence they were planning to have on Friday 15,  to give their group “good media exposure.”

News of the protest, which was announced last week, received some backlash on social media, with readers branding the group as “a bunch of lefties” who need to “bore off.”

It followed a survey in March this year, when readers listed The Queen as one of their top preferred public figures to open the bridge.

Announcing further details of the protest today, a spokesperson for the group insisted they were not in opposition to the Royal visit but in opposition to the tolls and wanted to take advantage of the heightened media exposure.

Christine Roche, who is on the SMT committee said: “Scrap Mersey Tolls are welcoming the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex to Widnes. We will be staging a demonstration at this event, not in opposition of a Royal Visit but  in opposition of the tolling scheme on the Mersey Gateway, and, when it reopens, the previously untolled Silver Jubilee Bridge.

“We view this visit  a timely opportunity for our campaign group to take advantage of wider media exposure to highlight issue of a huge sum of money, approximately £20M in Tolls and fines, taken from motorists using a tolling scheme which was ruled unenforceable by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.”

The Royal party is expected to arrive at Runcorn station early Thursday morning before driving across the bridge and then heading to the  Museum, where Her majesty will unveil a plaque to mark the opening of the bridge.

Scrap Mersey Tolls (SMT) campaigners will be demonstrating in Widnes near the junction on Waterloo Road at around the time that royal celebrations will be held at the Widnes Catalyst Museum.

Exact times of the visit have not been announced due to security reasons, but committee members for the SMT group are in talks with the Police to arrange a demonstration for some time between 10 am and noon.

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