Wales

Sunday Times' Rod Liddle 'mocks Wales' over Severn crossing renaming

Prince Charles turns 70 in November Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The renaming of the crossing was approved by the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May

Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle has been criticised on social media and by Welsh politicians for comments that "mock Wales" over the campaign against renaming the Severn crossing.

About 26,000 have signed a petition against the move to name the second crossing The Prince of Wales Bridge.

Mr Liddle sparked a backlash on social media after writing its name did not matter so long as it lets people "get out of the place pronto".

The paper has been asked to comment.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns revealed the move to rename the second crossing on Friday, sparking an online petition against the decision.

But, in a column on Sunday, Mr Liddle writes: "The Welsh, or some of them, are moaning that a motorway bridge linking their rain-sodden valleys with the First World is to be renamed."

He adds: "They would prefer it to be called something indecipherable with no real vowels, such as Ysgythysgymlngwchgwch Bryggy.

"Let them have their way. So long as it allows people to get out of the place pronto, should we worry about what it is called".

More than 1,000 people have so far reacted on Twitter to Mr Liddle's column in the UK newspaper, with some calling it "racist" and "outrageous".

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said it was not right that it was still "acceptable to use Wales as a whipping post for inflammatory opinionated journalism".

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP told BBC Wales: "He goes out of his way, effectively, to mock Wales, he calls it poor compared to England and mocks that, and then goes on to mock our language."

Ms Saville Roberts said people were already affronted about the name being changed without having any say, adding the column "adds insult to injury".

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Media captionAlun Cairns says "of course there will be some republicans who will dislike" the move

Independent AM Neil McEvoy tweeted: "If any other country or people were described like this it would be called racism."

Ynys Mon AM Rhun ap Iorwerth said the column was "prejudicial poison" which would not be acceptable if it referred to any other religion, race or people.󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

The bridge will take on its new title in the summer but there will be no change for the original Severn Crossing.

The newer of the two bridges was opened by the prince in 1996, 30 years after the original crossing was opened by the Queen, and cost £332m to build over four years.

Tolls for both bridges were cut for the first time on 1 January after they went into public ownership and they will be scrapped altogether by the end of the year.

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