HUNDREDS of protesters marched across the Tamar Bridge on Saturday (July 29) calling on the Government to abolish the tolls, but local MPs were criticised for not attending.

Cornwall Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Colin Martin thanked those who organised and took part in the event, but criticised Conservative MPs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) and Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View) and Labour MP Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) for failing to attend, “despite having been invited weeks in advance”.

“I was meant to be on holiday with my family this week, but I changed my plans because I wanted to show my support for this important cause” said Cllr Martin. “If our MPs don’t treat the tolls as a priority, then neither will the Government. The £14-million annual cost of running the bridge and ferries is a huge burden on the thousands of local people who use it, but equates to just 0.001% of Government spending.

“The only reason these tolls are still being paid by the hard-pressed residents of Plymouth and South East Cornwall is because our Conservative and Labour MPs have failed to do their jobs properly.”

In response Sheryll Murray said: “I have met the Minister and raised the case for action on the Tamar Crossings with various departments. I have met with both Johnny Mercer MP who CLLR Colin Martin has criticised local MPs for not attending the recent protest has the bridge crossing into his constituency and Luke Pollard MP who has the ferry crossing into his constituency.

“This cross party and cross Tamar working shows the importance of this issue and I await the Minister coming back to us with his thoughts. I look forward to continuing working with my colleagues, the local councils and important campaigns like the Tamar Toll Action Group so that we can improve the situation on these very important crossings. I would like to thank you all for keeping this important issue so high on the agenda.”

Conservative MP Mr Mercer and Labour MP Mr Pollard have also been contacted for comment.