THE Queen has responded to the backlash she faced for opening the Mersey Gateway bridge last month.

The Scrap Mersey Tolls (SMT) campaign group staged a protest against the royal visit and wrote a letter to Her Majesty “respectfully beseeching” her not to come to Widnes.

The letter expressed concerns about the royal family appearing to celebrate a bridge which the group claims has caused “great financial hardship” in the region because of its £2 toll charges.

The Queen has responded – thanking the group for their “thoughtful” opinions.

The reply, written by a deputy correspondence coordinator, states the Queen has taken “careful note” of the views expressed.

However, it goes on to explain that the bridge is not a matter on which Her Majesty could personally comment on.

The letter states: “The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter of 3rd June from which her Majesty has taken careful note of the views expressed regarding the cost to drivers of using the newly-opened Mersey Gateway bridge.

“I should explain, however, that this is not a matter on which the Queen would personally comment on, nor one in which Her Majesty would intervene. As a constitutional sovereign the Queen acts on the advice of her ministers and therefore it is to them or to your local Member of Parliament that such an appeal should be addressed.

“Nevertheless, it was thoughtful of you to wish to make Her Majesty aware of your feelings.”

A spokesperson for the group who wrote the letter, shared the reply on Facebook and said: “I know that The Queen doesn’t intervene but was happy to receive such a courteous response. Hopefully it has highlighted our dilemma a little more in general.”

The Queen’s reply comes ahead of another protest against Merseyflow following a landmark ruling that said the tolls were in breach of the Transport Act 2000.

In May, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT), ruled that the £2 tolls were not legally enforceable because Halton Council, the charging authority, had not specified the price of the tolls clearly in their Road User Charging Scheme Order (RUCSO),

That RUCSO was superceded on April 19, but hundreds of angry motorists have continued to demand refunds for tolls paid before that date.

On Saturday they will be hand delivering requests for refunds at the Merseyflow walk-in centre on Manor Park and staging a protest outside the building.

Halton Council says that they are still seeking legal advice on the TPT’s decision and are not in a position to agree to refunds at this stage.