The European Commission is secretly planning to take Britain to court, just weeks before the Brexit referendum, for making foreign trucks pay to use British roads.
The £10-a-day levy was introduced in 2014 as a way of getting foreign lorry drivers to contribute to the upkeep of the roads they use.
Even though British truck drivers also pay the charge, European Union (EU) officials claim it unfairly hurts foreign drivers as it was introduced at the same time as a reduction in road tax for UK vehicles.
The potential court action was revealed when Martin Selmayr, chief of staff to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, wrote a letter to the German Transport Secretary warning him not to copy the scheme as the Commission was about to take Britain to court.
In the letter, leaked to German magazine Der Spiegel, Mr Selmayr wrote: “In the course of the last year, the Commission has notified the UK that it has not provided sufficient proof to allay these concerns.
“Therefore the EU Commission is preparing an infringement procedure in this case, following the failure of exchanges with the UK authorities in recent weeks to produce a result.”
However, the Commission has refused to publicly comment on the plans, leading to fears they be trying to keep it quiet while Britain debates whether to leave the EU.
A spokesman said: “The Commission does not comment on rumours in the press.”
Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman told the Mail: “This is further evidence of a devious plan to hide and bury controversial legislation and EU actions in order to fool the British people into voting Remain.
“The result will be our people will become extremely angry as they realise they have been totally shafted by our so called friends. This is deeply dangerous.”
“The charge allows us to recover some of the costs of foreign lorries using UK roads for free. It is outrageous these free riders are being protected by the European Commission,” he added.
“It is time foreign lorries – and the whole EU – paid their own way. It is yet another example of our nation’s total loss of control. We must slam the EU brakes on 23 June.”