A TORY MP has said she may refuse to vote for the tax rises expected in tomorrow’s autumn statement, in a sign of a rumbling rebellion on the Government benches.

Esther McVey said ministers should not ask Tory MPs to vote for higher taxes unless the costly HS2 high speed rail project was axed, as raising taxes was the “last thing for a Conservative government to do”.

She also said the Government’s financial difficulties were the result of overspending not “under-taxing”, given taxes were at their highest in living memory.

The former TV presenter, who has been the Tory MP for Tatton since 2017, made the intervention at PMQs, where deputy PM Dominic Raab was standing in for Rishi Sunak.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to raise some £20billion extra in taxes and cut spending by £35bn in his budget to help plug a £60bn black hole in the public finances.

It was reported last month that spending on HS2 could be reviewed in light of the financial crisis, despite two previous reviews in the last three years.

The official cost of completing the line from London to the East and West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds is around £75billion, however Lord Berkley, who served on a government review of HS2, recently estimated the true cost was around £150bn.

At PMQs, Ms McVey said: “Given that we have the highest burden of taxation in living memory, it is clear that the Government's financial difficulties are caused by overspending and not due to under-taxing.

“Does the Deputy Prime Minister therefore agree, if the government has got enough money to proceed with HS2 at any cost, then it has sufficient money not to increase taxes?

“If however, it has so little money it has to increase taxes, which is a last thing for a Conservative government to do, then it doesn't have sufficient money for HS2. 

“So can I gently urge the Deputy Prime Minister not to ask Conservative MPs to support any tax rises unless and until this unnecessary vanity project is scrapped?

“Because I for one won't support them.”

To opposition calls of “Oh!”, Mr Raab replied: “I think I followed the various steps of logic in that question.  I understand her opposition to HS2. 

“I think we've got some very difficult decisions to make.

“They will inevitably involve a balanced approach. 

“I will leave it to the Chancellor to set them out in the autumn statement tomorrow.”

Although HS2 will only be a factor for some Tory MPs, many are unhappy at the prospect of raising taxes, either directly or by stealth with frozen income tax thresholds.

However Mr Hunt has said “everyone” will have to pay more and make “sacrifices” as the country repays debt accumulated through the pandemic and tackles inflation.