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Labour's motion calling on the Government to delay a planned increase in fuel duty has been defeated by 282 votes to 234.
Shadow Treasury Minister Cathy Jamieson had earlier urged members from all sides of the House to back Labour’s call for a fuel tax freeze, saying “nods and winks” from the Chancellor were not enough.
But MPs instead backed a government amendment praising ministers for taking action to “help with the cost of living”, and noting that “under the previous regime’s plans, pump prices would be 10 pence higher than they currently are”.
Introducing the motion, Ms Jamieson said families up and down the country were struggling with the rising cost of living, and urged Tory MPs to “walk the walk” and back Labour.
“It is a matter of regret that some members who, only a few weeks ago were calling or the very same thing that our motion is calling for, now seem to have taken cold feet,” she said.
“Nods and winks are no good to the families struggling in the run up to Christmas. The approach of ‘it will be alright on the night’ is no use to the small business trying to balance the books and plan for the first quarter of next year.
“If the Chancellor has made up his mind to delay the rise, his ministers should say so and they should say so today. If we don’t hear that announcement loud and clear then every honourable member who wants to see the rise dropped should not just talk the talk tonight, but walk into the lobby with us and vote for the 3p increase to be delayed.”
However a number of Conservative backbenchers spoke out against the motion, accusing Labour of hypocrisy over fuel duty.
South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom said it was the previous Labour government which put in place “the fuel duty escalator”, while Robert Halfon – who was campaigned for months against a rise – slammed Labour’s “political opportunism”.
Treasury Minister Sajid Javid accused Labour of being “all over the place” on fuel duty, and claimed the Coalition had already taken action to cut, cancel and delay a number of fuel duty rises put in place by the previous government.
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12/11/2012 on The World at One, BBC Radio 4
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