Campaigners have challenged the government to reverse a decision to rename the Second Severn Crossing the Prince of Wales bridge, claiming it is a cynical attempt to lay the groundwork for King Charles.


Campaign group Republic has added their voice to widespread surprise and criticism of the decision, accusing Clarence House and ministers of attempting to soften public opinion as Prince Charles approaches his 70th birthday.


Graham Smith, speaking for Republic, said today:


"Charles is not a man who likes to be crossed, yet now thousands will be forced to cross a bridge named in his honour.  This smacks of PR for the royals, not an honour for the people of Wales."


"Without public consultation or any consideration for how divisive Charles is, this government has taken a unilateral decision that will irritate people in England and Wales for years to come."


"I'd like to know how much royal lobbying lies behind this decision.  The name-change makes no sense without a concerted effort by Clarence House to persuade ministers this was a good idea.  Clearly they're worried that Charles doesn't have the same support as his mother, and they need to bolster his standing with empty gestures like this."