WEAVER Vale MP Mike Amesbury has written to George Osborne asking him to put pressure on his former Tory colleagues to fulfil their election pledge and provide free Mersey Gateway crossings for his constituents.
In April 2015, the then Chancellor George Osborne pledged that tolls for the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and Silver Jubilee bridge would not apply for Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington residents.
But the Government has since backtracked after Mr Osborne was replaced by Philip Hammond, with tolls now due to be imposed on constituents.
Mr Amesbury says this will burden a family with two cars with a charge of up to £2,000 a year.
In his letter to Mr Osborne – who is now editor of the London Evening Standard and previously championed the creation of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – he wrote: “Whilst I appreciate that you have left politics behind - I do note that your newspaper has recently been commendably holding the Government and Prime Minister to account on a number of issues, and I very much welcome your recent comments relating to the need for transport investment in the North.
“I believe your promise to the people of Weaver Vale was the right thing to do.
“This was also the view of my constituents who very much welcomed what you said.”
He added: “Whilst I know you are London based, I would be more than happy to host you here if you wished to visit our area.
“If so, I would also be happy to show you the progress of the Northern Powerhouse initiative – although I do fear that this may not be as enjoyable as you may hope.”
Mr Amesbury also asked for greater clarity from the bridge operators on when the new crossing will open, after it was announced it could open anytime between mid-September and mid-October, with commuters only being given five days’ notice of the actual opening date.
He said: “Whilst progress on the opening is welcome, I remain very concerned about the lack of clarity on the exact timetable, and five days’ notice is simply not long enough for residents, bus operators, and others to plan effectively. I will be raising these issues as a matter of urgency with the bridge operators.”
See full story in the Chester Leader