Neil McEvoy the Independent Assembly Member for South Wales Central – which includes Penarth – has criticised yesterday’s ultra-low-profile ceremony to controversially re-name the Second Severn Crossing as the “Prince of Wales Bridge”.
Mr McEvoy describes the event – which was given little, if any, pre-publicity as “A very poor show. If made public, they knew what reaction they would get.”
The re-naming of the Bridge was carried in a subdued ceremony – which some people have described as “secret” – by the Prince of Wales yesterday accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall. The commemorative plaque was unveiled in a motorway portacabin.
The bridge has been renamed in honour of the Prince Charles’s 70th birthday and his forthcoming 60th anniversary as Prince of Wales and was the first event on the royal couple’s annual tour of Wales.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns (Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan) led Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall of a tour of the Severn Crossing toll office and said afterwards “I am delighted that their Royal Highnesses have been able to join us at this special occasion which marks the start of a new era of cross-border opportunity.”
Mr Cairns said ” I hope that the new Prince of Wales bridge and its sister bridge will be seen as positive symbols of the newly invigorated economic, cultural and social opportunities that will present themselves to Wales, helping to make our nation fit for the future.”
The re-naming decision was endorsed by the Queen, the Prime Minister and by Carwyn Jones the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Labour Government.
However the decision to rename the Second Severn Crossing as The Prince of Wales Bridge has been criticised with more than 40,000 people signing an on-line protest petition .
A Plaid Cymru spokesman Dai Lloyd (AM South Wales West) said he regarded the renaming as “A bit of an insult” and claimed that public opinion was not on the side of the Secretary of State for Wales on this matter .
The Secretary for State, Alun Cairns, had earlier called those who objected “republicans” and claimed that the “wider, silent majority is absolutely with us”.
Mr Cairns said yesterday ” I would never have done this unless it had the strong approval of the Welsh Government”
In his re-naming speech, Prince Charles appeared to seek to diffuse the public criticism and had worked-in a passage which seemed to suggest that the bridge hadn’t been named after him personally, but would call to mind ALL those who had borne the title “Prince of Wales/Tywysogion Cymru “ down though history and the “different heritages and traditions that they represent”.