A PRE-election promise to cut Mersey Tunnel tolls has been branded a "cynical stunt to save Esther Mcvey" after the government revealed the pledge could never have been honoured.

George Osborne visited Wirral just days before the 2015 ballot and promised to cut the hated tolls.

But in answer to a Parliamentary question from Wallasey MP Angela Eagle, the government has now disclosed this could not have happened.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “Under the Mersey Tunnels Act 2004, the power to set tolls for the Mersey Tunnels is vested in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority who own and operate the tunnels.”

Ms Eagle said: “Before the last general election George Osborne promised that Mersey Tunnel tolls ‘definitely’ would be cut for Wirral residents.

"It now appears that this was just a cynical stunt to save Esther McVey’s seat.

“The Tories are now ducking responsibility for cutting the tunnel tolls, and claiming that only the Liverpool City Combined Authority can set toll levels.

“Wirral residents will rightly feel duped by a Tory Government who have failed to deliver on a key election pledge.

"The Tories should now honour this and provide the necessary funds to the Combined Authority so the tunnel tolls can be cut. ”

Mr Osborne raised hopes of a toll cut last May when campaigning for employment minister Ms Mcvey, who had taken the Wirral West seat in 2010.

He told our reporters: "It's very simple. We will cut the tolls for Wirral residents and small businesses on Wirral.

"I've listened to Esther’s case. She's powerfully made the argument that the tolls are a real burden on families, working people, and it’s also a burden on local businesses here."

The announcement made banner headlines across the county.

The pledge failed to secure Ms McVey's re-election and she lost to Labour's Margaret Greenwood by 417 votes.

Mr Osborne was removed as chancellor by new Prime Minister Theresa May in July.