'Day of Rage' planned to coincide with Queen's Speech as Theresa May promises 'humility and resolve'

A number of protests including a "Day of Rage" are being held to coincide with the Queen's Speech.
Theresa May. Picture by PATheresa May. Picture by PA
Theresa May. Picture by PA

The Day of Rage demonstration, organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), will see protesters march to Downing Street at 1pm on today as they aim to "bring down the Government".

The demos are to take place on the day Prime Minister Theresa May sets out her legislative programme for the next two years in a Queen's Speech expected to be dominated by Brexit.

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Referencing the Grenfell Tower fire and "brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks", the description on the MFJ event page reads: "Politicians and many community and religious leaders will be looking to divert our rage and fury into inquiries, investigations, reports, court hearings, and parliamentary processes.

"We will not accept those brush-offs and diversions, we will not settle for less than the destruction of May's coalition of austerity and bigotry - we must bring down this government."

Organisers are seeking the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents, and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea.

Attendees have been urged to keep their activities peaceful, amid concerns that the disaster may be hijacked for violent means.

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The Clement James Centre, which has been helping Grenfell residents, said: "There has been a 'Day of Rage' announced for Wednesday, trying to bring London to a standstill.

"We cannot emphasise enough how against this many of the affected residents we've spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "To everyone planning on demonstrating against Theresa May's Government over the next few weeks, it is vital that these protests are peaceful."

Stand Up To Racism has organised a demo for 6pm called: "Protest the Queen's speech - no to May/DUP racism & bigotry!"

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London Socialist Party is hosting a Facebook event called "May Must Go! Protest the Queen's Speech" which is scheduled for 4pm.

Hundreds have indicated online that they will be attending the protests.

'Humility and resolve'

Meanwhile, Theresa May has promised to work with "humility and resolve" as she prepares to set out her legislative programme for the next two years in a Queen's Speech expected to be dominated by Brexit.

The programme set out by the Queen at today's State Opening of Parliament will feature "a number of bills" geared towards making a success of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, the Prime Minister said.

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But she insisted that the rest of Government business will not be put on hold during the Brussels negotiations, promising measures to build a stronger economy, protect consumers, tackle domestic violence and fix a "dysfunctional" housing market.

Downing Street sources declined to be drawn on reports that the Speech will ditch headline promises from the Conservative manifesto, such as the scrapping of universal free lunches for infant school children in England , means-testing of the winter fuel allowance and reforms to social care funding which were branded a "dementia tax" by critics.

For the first time in decades, a prime minister looks set to go into the event unsure of commanding the level of support among MPs needed to avoid defeat on a programme.

Almost two weeks after the election, Conservatives have failed to secure a "confidence and supply" agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to shore up Mrs May's minority administration.

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A DUP source warned that talks with Tories "haven't proceeded in a way that the DUP would have expected" and a deal was "certainly not imminent". The Northern Irish party "can't be taken for granted", the source cautioned.

However, it is thought unlikely the DUP would vote down the Government's programme in a way which would risk a fresh general election handing power to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour. Even an abstention by the DUP's 10 MPs would be enough to guarantee Mrs May's survival.

The State Opening of Parliament has already been delayed two days following the inconclusive election, and will take place without much of its traditionally lavish ceremony.

In a mark of the importance of Brexit to Mrs May's agenda, the Queen will set out plans not for the usual one year, but for a two-year period taking the Government beyond the expected withdrawal date in March 2019.

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Mrs May said the Speech would be about "recognising and grasping the opportunities that lie ahead for the United Kingdom as we leave the European Union" and "delivering a Brexit deal that works for all parts of the UK while building a stronger, fairer country by strengthening our economy, tackling injustice and promoting opportunity and aspiration".

Having called a snap election in the hope of securing an increased majority to deliver Brexit in a "strong and stable" way, Mrs May acknowledged that the outcome was "not the one I hoped for".

"This Government will respond with humility and resolve to the message the electorate sent," she promised.