Marijuana smoke drifted in the early afternoon drizzle as the chants began. Cheers went up when the poster girl of the anti-cuts movement snuck through the crowd to join the front of the march. Clutching an ‘End Austerity Now’ placard – Charlotte Church stood smiling as the good-natured crowd counted down to the start of the largest protest against the cuts since the Tories won the election.
The singer was joined by celebrities including Russell Brand and Julie Hesmondhalgh – the actor who played Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street. Politicians Martin McGuinness and Diane Abbott – one of Labour’s London mayoral hopefuls – also lent their support – along with Unite leader Len McCluskey.