A FRESH political row has erupted over tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge two weeks before the General Election.

Former Chancellor George Osborne made a pledge that motorists in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have tolls waived ahead of the 2015 General Election.

But many Warrington motorists are facing a £1,080 yearly bill to cross the site when it opens to traffic later this year following a Government U-turn in January.

Theresa May has pledged to scrap tolls on the Severn Bridge, which spans across the River Severn and River Wye between England and Wales, if she is re-elected as Prime Minister on June 8.

Warrington South's Labour candidate Cllr Faisal Rashid and Tory candidate David Mowat have clashed over the announcement.

On Tuesday, former mayor Cllr Rashid (LAB – Chapelford and Old Hall) released a statement criticising the Tories.

He said: "Just two years ago, our sitting Tory MP gloatingly announced that the Conservatives' 2015 General Election promise to scrap tolls on the new Mersey crossing but only to sit back silently when the Conservatives did a massive U-turn just a few months ago.

"Despite claiming the country needs austerity Theresa May's Government is now proposing to scrap the Severn Bridge tolls and forgo over £100 million of Government revenue each year but they are still expecting Warrington motorists to pay up to £1,000 in annual Mersey crossing toll fees.

"Surely, if nothing else, pensioners and other NHS patients should be exempt from paying any Mersey crossing bridge tolls to get to Halton Hospital for treatment.

"This General Election I urge voters to remember these broken promises and send a signal to Theresa May.

"A vote for the Conservatives will just mean another five years of Warrington and the north west being denied Government investment in favour of the south of England."

But on Thursday Mr Mowat hit back.

He said: "It is disappointing that, on Tuesday, when most of the country was still reeling from the horrific events in Manchester, Jeremy Corbyn's candidate decided to put out a campaign press release.

"All the major parties agreed to suspend their campaigns this week as a sign of respect and to show that there are things more important than politics.

"Now that the moratorium has been lifted, I want to point out that the tolls on the Halton crossing, which were of course proposed by the last Labour Government, are to repay the construction costs of the bridge, whereas the Severn Crossing was paid for years ago.

"I am disappointed that Warrington residents will not get to use the bridge for free.

"I pressed the case with Government but the overall cost of the scheme was too expensive – indeed the costs have ballooned so much that even Halton is no longer offering free crossings to all its residents.

"My priority to get two new bridges built in Warrington to tackle the traffic problems we have here.

"I also note that Jeremy Corbyn has not proposed any solution to the matter."