TORY backbencher John Baron has once again rebelled against his party over a potential rise in petrol prices.

A 3p increase in fuel duty would not help hard-pressed families and businesses who are already “struggling” in the tough economic climate according to the Basildon and Billericay MP.

Labour’s bid to delay the January increase until at least April was defeated by 282 votes to 234 in the House of Commons on night, Monday.

In total, nine Tories abstained from the vote, including Mr Baron and Clacton MP Douglas Carswell.

Other south Essex Conservatives Stephen Metcalfe, Mark Francois, Jackie Doyle-Price, Mark Francois, Rebecca Harris, David Amess and James Duddridge all voted in favour of the rise.

Although he abstained from the vote, Mr Baron said he “welcomes” the fact petrol is now 10p a litre lower than it would have been under Labour.

He said: “But I think more should be done to help both families, and indeed households and businesses who are struggling in this difficult economic environment.

“I have lobbied hard behind the scenes with the Chancellor against these increases. I was not going to vote with Labour, but abstaining was the best way of showing one’s dissatisfaction with Government policy.

“I understand they are in a state of listening and my hope is they will listen when it comes to the autumn statement - I’m told they have taken this message on board.

“If a few of us abstain, hopefully it concentrates the mind even further.”

Mr Baron said he can also “look any minister in the eye with a clear conscience” if he is asked where the money could come from in place of a fuel rise, suggesting a cut in money paid out to the EU.

Earlier this month he, along with the 53 fellow rebels, voted to defeat the Government in its bid for a freeze in the UK’s budget contribution to the EU.

However, Monday night’s vote is not the first time Mr Baron has defied the party line in recent months.

This year he has also voted against the party over Army cuts and the EU referendum.