THE Government is finalising options for the sale of the Dartford Crossing.

The move, confirmed in the chancellor’s budget statement, has enraged prospective Tory MP Jackie Doyle Price, who says she will fight the sale because it means that the tolls will never end.

She said: “First Labour argued that the tolls were a congestion charge. Yet the tolls themselves are a cause of congestion on Thurrock’s roads.

“It surely cannot be argued that the tolls are a congestion charge when the monies raised won’t even go to the taxpayer.

“Then they gave residents of Thurrock and Dartford a discounted rate for using the crossing. Don’t be fooled into thinking this was generous.

"Local users account for less than three per cent of all crossings and in any case the introduction of the discount was matched by the withdrawal of a transport grant worth £500,000 a year.

“We know the public finances are a mess, but flogging off the crossing surely cannot be the answer.”

Mrs Doyle Price’s political opponent, Labour’s Carl Morris, doesn’t believe that the bridge will be sold, and argues that the Conservatives have made no committment to keep it either.

He said: “An intention to sell this crossing is one thing, but I believe it will never happen.

“What this has flushed out is the Tories deep resentment of Labour’s hard won local discount which has widespread popular support and saves regular users of the bridge up to £7.30 each week.

“The Tories don’t like our discount and would scrap it to give Thurrock Council another £500,000. But with this Tory Council’s track record nobody in their right mind would give this council any more money to be squandered on consultants.”

He added: “The Conservative Party has made no commitment to stop the sale of the bridge or scrap the tolls. So if we have a Tory Government, the sale would proceed, the tolls would remain but its likely our local discount would be scrapped.

“I’m determined to defend the interests in local people who ever forms the next government to protect the local discount.”

The Government first announced plans to sell off the crossing within two years back in October.

An average of around 145,000 vehicles use it every day, and it makes a profit of £60 million a year.