Newly crowned Tory MPs rebel as they blast Rishi Sunak’s plan to increase fuel tax
The Express last night saw a letter from 13 MPs in the Blue Collar Caucus founded by former minister Esther McVey to win over the Labour heartland seats.
The MPs have demanded that the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak abandons proposals to scrap the fuel duty freeze which would pile on financial pressure for many.
The letter says: “Many towns and villages across the country – particularly in rural areas – severely lack the necessary local transport infrastructure to accommodate this change to the market.
“Hardworking people in these areas rely on their vehicles to get on in their everyday lives and provide for their families.
“Any decision to scrap the fuel duty freeze must be seen for what it is : a tax rise which would hit our blue collar communities hardest.”
Signatories include some of the shock victories in the December election as the Tories swept many of the former Labour heartland red wall seats.
They include Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher and Darlington MP Peter Gibson.
Others are Aaron Bell, Jonathan Gullis, Marco Longhi, Jason McCartney, Mark Jenkinson MP, Andy Carter, Paul Howell and Rob Roberts.
Fuel duty was frozen by George Osborne in 2011 in effect bringing an end to the fuel price escalator introduced by Gordon Brown in 2000.
The escalator had meant the fuel rose at 3 per cent above inflation putting an extra cost on family budgets.
The issue has returned partly because of climate change activists putting pressure on governments to reduce car journeys.
However, the letter points out that the UK already has the highest fuel taxation in the world.
The Blue Collar group was set up by Ms McVey and Mansfield MP Ben Bradley aimed at winning seats in Labour heartlands.
After the election the group bolstered by new MPs set up a caucus to “keep the boss on track” and put pressure on Mr Johnson to deliver for the north and midlands.
Sources have suggested that Downing Street removed Ms McVey as a minister in the reshuffle because he did not like a party within a party.
The letter is the second concerted attempt by the blue collar group to influence government policy after it led attempts to stop HS2.
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