Tonight was a good one for the Tory whips. What looked last week like it could have been a tricky vote on a Labour motion to delay the fuel duty rise, turned into a relatively easy government win. There were only nine Tory MPs absent from the vote and every other Tory MP backed the government.
Now, the reason there was no rebellion was, at least partly, because Treasury ministers dropped a fair few hints that there would be action on fuel duty in the autumn statement. Robert Halfon, who has led a sustained campaign on this issue, said after the vote that it was ‘Right to wait until’ the autumn statement on this issue.
The question for Osborne now is whether he can find enough money to scrap the rise outright rather than just postpone it for a few months.