Backbench revolt on fuel price rise quelled by hints of help for motorists
Tory MPs had been expected to join Labour in calling for Chancellor to delay fuel duty rise
Drivers could benefit in next month's Autumn Statement, it emerged, as the Chancellor headed off the threat of a Commons defeat over the price of petrol.
Several Tory backbenchers had been expected to back a Labour motion today calling for a 3p -a-litre rise in fuel duty scheduled for 1 January to be delayed for three months.
But the threat of a rebellion receded last night following well-placed hints that George Osborne will soon reveal extra help for motorists .
Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs will now combine to block the motion, leaving the Chancellor with a free hand to make his own announcement in the Autumn Statement on 5 December.
Robert Halfon, the Tory MP who has been leading a campaign against the planned increase, told The Independent: "When I first heard about the motion I was going to support it, but I have had various conversations and I genuinely believe that Mr Osborne is in strong listening mode so I'm not, as a Tory, going to help Ed Balls knife the Government. You might get one or two Tories voting with Labour, but not many.
"If you look at his motion, it is only to freeze the duty for three months. The Government has talked about lowering the cost of living. If the Autumn Statement has nothing in it and the fuel duty rise goes ahead, then I'll go public and really make a stink. I wouldn't vote with the Government if I didn't genuinely believe they're listening."
The planned increase, which would mean almost 60p out of every pound spent at the pumps went to the Treasury, was scheduled to come into effect in August, but was put back for five months by the Chancellor after opposition from road user groups.
The consumer group Which? called yesterday for the rise to be postponed after an opinion poll suggested that 39 per cent would be forced to cut back on motoring costs.
The organisation's executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Rising fuel prices are the No 1 consumer worry and people are already telling us they're having to cut back and dip into savings just to get by. The forthcoming Autumn Statement must focus on measures that will help put money back in the pockets of consumers."
But the transport charity Sustrans warned that abandoning the fuel duty rise would increase the gap between the poorest in society, who cannot afford to drive, and the majority who can. They argued for the income from fuel duty to be invested in cheap transport.
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...