With just hours to go before Merseytravel councillors meet to bring in an expected 10p increase in tunnel tolls, Birkenhead MP Frank Field is calling on members to vote against “the tunnel poll tax.”

The influential Labour MP says tolls “unfairly discriminates against Wirral and some Liverpool residents”.

He has also called on the Labour-controlled transport authority to outline proposals to eliminate the tunnel debt and embark on a programme of toll reductions.

Mr Field said: “Wirral has got the transport authorities stacked against it.

“Wirral certainly, maybe Liverpool, has an interest in not increasing tunnel tolls.

“Few of the other authorities are affected by this increase but they vote a poll tax increase on Wirral residents.

"Wirral residents are subsidising the transport projects which probably most of them know nothing of, let alone use.

“This year’s accounts show an £8m surplus on the tunnel operation.

“This money must be allocated towards paying off the debt and so begin a process of cutting this iniquitous tunnel poll tax.”

Wirral’s deputy mayor, Cllr Steve Foulkes, is a member of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority Board and voted against the increase last year.

In response to Mr Field’s request, Cllr Foulkes told the Globe: "The tunnels and tolls are part of Merseyside's Transport solution.

"The real solution would be for the government to integrate the tunnels into the national roads network, paid for by the taxpayer.

"The have flatly refused to make it part of the national road network.

"Clearly, I cannot pre-empt this afternoon’s vote, but I will certainly take on board issues raised."