‘Shameless hypocrisy!’ Lib Dems call for fuel duty cuts despite policies to hike them

Richard Foord, the new Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton won the seat last Thurssday after thousands of Tory voters stayed at home in protest but also with a pledge to bring in a new law to cut fuel duty.

However, Tory MPs who have been at the forefront of persuading Chancellor Rishi Sunak to keep tax on petrol down have pointed out that the Lib Dem flagship climate change policy would increase costs by 12p per litre when people fill up their tanks.

The real Lib Dem policy passed less than a year ago, calls for “reinstating the indexation of road fuel duty” – meaning a return to regular yearly increases in the tax. The Conservative government has frozen fuel duty for the past 11 years and this year cut it by 5p a litre – measures the Lib Dems have voted against in Parliament.

The move is the latest revelation that Lib Dem MPs and candidates are telling voters one thing but planning to do another.

Recently, Express.co.uk revealed how they had considered a plan to not talk to Leave voters about their policy to take the UK back into the EU.

Meanwhile, in the Chesham and Amersham by-election last year, where the Lib Dems also overturned a massive Tory majority, the candidate campaigned to oppose the High Speed 2 rail due to be built across the constituency.

But Lib Dem policy is to support the scheme where costs are believed to have run above £100 billion.

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North West Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden, who led a fuel duty reduction campaign, said: “The Lib Dems have pledged to rise fuel duty by 12p/litre – its one of their flagship politcies.

“Their duplicity knows no ends as they deliberately mislead voters about what they actually stand for.”

Bassetlaw Conservative MP Brendan Clarke Smith, who was another one of the Red Wall MPs who persuaded Mr Sunak to freeze and cut duty, said: “Once again the Liberal Democrats are adopting the strategy of not so much sitting on the fence, but instead managing to sit on both sides of it depending who they are talking to.

“They should come clean to the public as to what their actually policy is on this issue, as this proposal goes against their previously adopted position of indexing fuel duty, which would leave many in rural areas such as mine worse off.”

Thornbury and Yate MP Conservative MP Luke Hall added: “This is once again brazen hypocrisy from the Lib Dems, who have voted against our fuel duty cuts and freezes.

“Their national policy is to literally reinstate annual hikes in fuel duty, which if implemented now would mean an eye-watering 12p a litre hike.

“They shamelessly say different things to different people, depending on which part of the country they’re in.”

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In his press release, Mr Foord said he will push for the Rural Fuel Duty Relief Scheme to be extended.

He said: “On the doorsteps in Devon, I heard stories of families living in rural communities who suffer more than most because of soaring prices at the pumps.

“I have heard those concerns and I can guarantee that one of my first actions in Parliament will be to campaign for a fair deal for people struggling with fuel prices.”

Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman Tim Farron said: “These accusations reek of desperation from Conservative MPs who are terrified and looking over their shoulders at last week’s historic by-election victory for us. Put simply, our policy is to cut fuel duty for rural communities which have been taken for granted, not sit on our hands and fail to act during a cost of living emergency.”

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