MP threatens fuel duty rebellion

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Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley has threatened to rebel if the Government fails to act against rising fuel duty.

Mr Ruffley said he and other back benchers want the 
Chancellor George Osborne to freeze fuel duty until 2015.

It follows the defeat of a Labour motion in the House of 
Commons to delay a 3p increase planned for January.

Mr Ruffley declined to back the motion earlier this week after the Treasury indicated it was ‘listening’ to backbenchers’ concerns - suggesting the issue could be addressed in the Coalition’s autumn statement next month.

However, he warned that their support would fade if Mr Osborne fails to recognise their demands.

He said: “There will be a time when it comes to a vote. I will find it difficult to support any government whoever they are if there’s no end in sight of fuel duty increases year on year.

“We want the Government to demonstrate that it’s on the side of hard pressed families.

“We want them to give some relief in these austere times by getting rid of the fuel duty escalator which is the automatic increase year on year in fuel duty.

“It is already one of the very highest in Europe.

“We’ve said the Chancellor should look at giving a clear statement in his autumn statement that he will freeze duty from now until the end of parliament.”

Mr Ruffley is joined by ‘a few dozen’ MPs including those from the shire counties who are calling for the freeze in response to concerns from constituents.

He said: “In my constituency mail bag I’ve more letters on fuel duty at the moment than any other economic issue.

“That’s not surprising 
because a huge component of the cost of living is filling up the family car at the petrol station.

“It’s as big a headache for the average family as higher 
electricity and gas prices - not to mention food costs as well.”

Mr Ruffley clarified that he did not support the Labour 
motion, which was instigated by the shadow chancellor Ed Balls, as he felt their position was ‘political’.

He added: “It was also the case that the Chancellor has indicated that if we just wait until December 5 - the date of the 
autumn statement - he’s been listening to our lobbying, which has been going on since July.”