POLITICS

Grenfell-Hit Community To Declare 'People's Republic' As MP Calls For Royals' Funding To Be Scrapped

'I am the Royal Family's worst nightmare.'

26/09/2017 12:13 BST | Updated 26/09/2017 12:13 BST
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Kensington’s anti-Monarch MP has declared herself “the Royal Family’s worst nightmare” as she revealed her constituents were collecting signatures for a people’s republic.

Labour’s Emma Dent Coad, who wants an elected head of state, hit out at the BBC for “sickeningly gratuitous coverage of anything Royal” and said the ‘People’s Republic of North Kensington’ will be announced at Halloween.

Dent Coad, who won the Kensington seat in June, also called for the Royals’ public funding to be scrapped and revealed she refused to meet the Queen on principle when the Monarch visited the site after the Grenfell Tower fire.

She said the main aim of the independent republic would be to save Lancaster West housing estate, which is just yards from the charred shell of Grenfell Tower, from demolition.

Speaking at a fringe event at the party conference in Brighton, she said the “fun” people’s republic campaign would give residents a boost, adding: “Post-Grenfell, some of the residents around there are very politically active and they have been very active over the last three months.

POOL New / Reuters
The Queen went to meet firefighters after the Grenfell Tower fire

“Before the fire, they were trying to save their estate, Lancaster West which is right next to the tower.

“There are people who have worked tirelessly looking after the survivors and it has been quite horrendous.

“However, they are giving themselves a boost at the end of October. I think it is on Halloween. They are going to instate the ‘People’s Republic of North Kensington’.

“It’s to give everyone a bit of fun but they are taking it quite seriously and are collecting a lot of signatures.”

She added: “It’s going to be quite a celebration for the neighbourhood and my God, we need one.”

Dent Coad said the Royals at Kensington Palace, in her constituency, frequently invited her to events.

She said: “I am the royal family’s worst nightmare. I don’t know of any point at which senior members of the royal family have had a Labour MP.

Darren Staples / Reuters
Emma Dent Coad after winning the Kensington seat during Britain's election,

“They’re really unhappy. They have to invite me to events sometimes. I’m not going to go, I will never go but I always find different excuses because I want to keep them on the hop thinking I might go sometime. It would be quite amusing.

“I have already turned down meeting the Queen. It was right after Grenfell fire and I was speaking to firefighters and I thought they needed my love much more than she needed to shake my hand.”

She added: “This family is an anachronism. Why are we spending all this money? We don’t need to spend the money.

“Let’s stop tax payer funding of the monarchy. Let’s make them get jobs or just live on what money they have got. Please, let’s not idolise them.”

Fellow Labour MP Tom Copley, who was also at the Labour For A Republic fringe event, added: “The idea of a head of state that is inherited is a complete anathema to everything that we stand for as a party.

“It’s as far away as you can get from our values and I find it quite insulting that Emma and other MPs have to swear an oath not just to the Queen  but to people who potentially have not been born yet, her heirs and successors, rather than Emma and I swearing an oath to the people that elected us.

“I think it is completely ridiculous.”

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Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, who has been given the title of The Duchess of Cambridge, kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

When asked whether the BBC should be covering diary events such as the Royal Family wedding, Dent Coad said: “The BBC should be ashamed of themselves for their absolutely untrammeled, sickeningly gratuitous coverage of anything royal.

“It also makes me feel very, very ill. It’s also our money paying for that. Why are they using it as a propaganda machine? I think it is an utter disgrace.

“It’s also quite insidious because we don’t really know. We just think of it as part of the wallpaper but it’s really not. It’s actually quite dangerous.”

Copley added: “However, when it comes to the Royal Family and the Monarchy, they have a definite bias and they are far too deferential towards the Monarchy.

“As a publicly funded body, that needs to change.”

Copley argued for republicans to make small arguments that would contribute to a reduction in influence of the monarchy.

“I think this is a gradual process,” he said.

He added: “It is not going to be some revolution that happens straightaway but there are things that we can do that will reduce the political influence, and that’s where I think our focus should be.

“It’s going to be a long road but we can do it.”