'Red Wall' Tories threaten revolt over fuel-duty hike plans

Red Wall Tories threaten revolt if Chancellor Rishi Sunak hikes fuel duty this autumn – ending ten-year freeze on tax on motorists

  • ‘Red Wall’ Tories in northern constituencies threaten revolt over fuel-duty hike 
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been told to scrap plans to end ten-year tax freeze
  • Some Tory MPs had already slammed impact of Government’s ‘net zero’ plans 

The Chancellor faces a Tory ‘Red Wall’ revolt if he dares to unveil a fuel-duty hike this autumn.

Rishi Sunak has been told by Northern Tory colleagues to scrap any plans to end the ten-year freeze on the tax on motorists.

The shot across Mr Sunak’s bows comes just days after Tories from the North and Midlands vented their anger at the impact on their voters of the Government’s ‘net zero’ environmental plans.

In his Budget statement earlier this year, Mr Sunak cancelled controversial plans to raise the 58p-a-litre fuel tariff which has been frozen since March 2011. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been told by Northern Tory colleagues to scrap any plans to end the ten-year freeze on the tax on motorists 

However, the Treasury sparked fears that this was only to be a short stay of execution by warning that a rise in the levy would be considered ‘in the context’ of the Government’s wider plans to cut harmful fossil fuel emissions.

But last night, so-called Red Wall Tories who won their seats from Labour in the North and Midlands in 2019 launched a pre-emptive strike to stop Mr Sunak finally removing the freeze if he does make an autumn financial statement.

Leading Red Wall Tory Brendan Clarke-Smith led the charge by insisting that his Nottinghamshire constituents ‘simply cannot afford’ a hike in fuel duty just as people are being encouraged to go back to work in the office.

Red Wall Tory Brendan Clarke-Smith (above) insists his Nottinghamshire constituents ‘simply cannot afford’ a hike in fuel duty as people are being encouraged return to work in the office

The Bassetlaw MP told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I appreciate that from the environmental perspective, we do need to cut carbon emissions to tackle global warming.

‘But it would be wrong to penalise people with a fuel duty hike just as we carry on with the recovery from the pandemic.

‘I will be urging the Chancellor to continue with the fuel duty freeze.’ He added: ‘We are trying to encourage people to get back to work and in my constituency, many people still need their cars to get to work.

‘We are building up public transport links but that will take some time.’

In March, the Treasury claimed that holding down fuel duty had saved the average car driver more than £1,600 since 2011. [File photo]

Only last week, Mr Clarke-Smith was among a group of Red Wall Tories who raised the alarm over the potential impact on their voters of the Government’s ambitious plans to reduce Britain’s contribution to global warming.

In a private WhatsApp message, he warned fellow MPs: ‘It’s a hard sell asking people to make sacrifices when the rest of the world, China/Russia etc, are carrying on as usual.’

Last night, Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford also backed calls for the fuel-duty freeze to continue.

He said: ‘As inflation is rising and cost of living increasing, we shouldn’t be taxing people more to live their lives and get to and from work.’

In March, the Treasury claimed that holding down fuel duty had saved the average car driver more than £1,600 since 2011.

The Treasury did not comment last night.

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