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Tory MPs lash out at Theresa May over dropped pledge to cap energy prices for millions of families

A total of 53 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to the Prime Minister demanding more be done to protect millions of households 'who continue to be preyed on by the Big Six'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Sunday 20 August 2017 12:17 BST
British Gas hiked prices for 3.1m customers earlier this month
British Gas hiked prices for 3.1m customers earlier this month (PA)

Theresa May is facing a significant backlash from rebellious Conservative MPs following the decision to drop a key general election manifesto proposal to cap energy bills for 17 million British people.

The 53 MPs, including 20 former ministers, have now called on the Prime Minister – weakened by the inconclusive general election result in June – to fulfil her electoral promise to introduce a cap for all families on a standard variable tariff.

The protest, organised by former minister John Penrose, has the backing of 38 Labour and SNP MPs, and includes prominent Conservative figures such as the former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

During the general election, the Tories promised to introduce a cap which aimed to save families up to £100-a-year on their utility bills but the plan was absent from the Queen’s speech, prompting accusations of a U-turn.

Labour, at the time, accused the Government of betraying millions of households.

Weeks later, British Gas hiked prices by 12.5 per cent for 3.1 million customers, which led to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy saying they were “concerned” the price rise would hit many people already on poor value tariffs”. It now means that all the “Big Six” energy companies have increased bills for consumers this year.

In their letter, which will be delivered to Downing Street following the parliamentary recess, the MPs demand that Ms May extends Ofgem’s proposals to introduce a price cap on bills for 2.5 million vulnerable consumers to all of the 17m originally promised during the election campaign.

“While these proposals are a step in the right direction, it is clear we must do more to protect the further 15 million households who continue to be preyed on by the Big Six energy firms,” they add.

”As you can see from our signatures below, the idea has substantial cross-party support.

“It was promised in the three leading party manifestos and a temporary, relative price cap has support from most of the 'challenger' energy firms - the insurgents who are challenging the dominance of the Big Six incumbents, and providing choice and stronger competition, which benefits consumers.

“We hope you will work with us and Ofgem to stop this Big Six stitch-up, and pledge to help the millions of households who Ofgem seem set to ignore.”

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