Rishi Sunak has been urged by dozens of Tory MPs to abandon a vote on quotas for the sale of new electric cars.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, more than 40 Conservative MPs and peers led by Craig Mackinlay warn the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate is “anti-consumer, anti-choice and anti-motorist”.
The intervention sets the stage for a potential rebellion if Mr Sunak presses ahead with the Commons vote tomorrow.
The measure, which requires 22 per cent of new cars sold from next year to be electric, remains government policy despite the PM’s shift in his net zero approach in September.
The letter, signed by Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dame Priti Patel, says the PM was “absolutely right in arguing for this more proportionate and pragmatic approach to net zero”.
But it adds: “Unfortunately, since your speech, the Government’s planned ZEV mandate has entered its final Parliamentary stages virtually unchanged, and without the much-needed scrutiny you called for.
“The legislation will enforce an aggressive ramp-up of electric vehicle use to 80 per cent of new car sales in 2030 – regardless of what people would prefer or could afford.
“Many in the car industry do not regard this as a realistic aim, but the attempt to get there through legal coercion is likely to cause enormous harm.
“If the cost of buying and running an EV will become cheaper than petrol and diesel cars, mandating them with this law is unnecessary.
“This law is anti-consumer, anti-choice and anti-motorist, and will only leave the public poorer. Car ownership could once again be restricted to the privileged few.”
The letter, sent yesterday, says: “We urge you to reconsider this statutory instrument and refrain from putting it to a vote in Parliament on Monday.”
Other signatories include former Brexit minister Lord Frost, Thatcherite MP Sir John Redwood and ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
The vote is likely to pass with the backing of Labour MPs even if Tory backbenchers abstain or vote against it.
It comes after Mr Sunak pushed back the planned ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.
A Government spokesman said: “We’re on the side of drivers, which is why we have set out a fairer, more proportionate route to net zero and pushed back the date to end new petrol and diesel car sales to 2035 – aligning the UK with other countries like France, Germany and Italy.
“We are also backing British jobs, with the ZEV mandate giving the car industry the certainty they need to keep investing in the UK and employing skilled workers across the country.”