NEW Tory MP Gareth Johnson has vowed to continue fighting plans to sell the Dartford Crossing despite David Cameron saying it could still go ahead.

The Labour government had announced plans to sell the crossing to a private company this summer and new Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has said he cannot rule out the sale.

However, 40-year-old Mr Johnson, who took the Dartford seat from Labour with a majority of 10,628 votes, says he will do everything he can to stop the sale.

He said: “Before the general election David Cameron said he could not rule out selling the crossing.

“The Dartford Crossing still needs to be negotiated on and in due course there will be a decision, and I will be trying to persuade the coalition government it will be a mistake to sell it.”

Mr Johnson, who has lived in the area all his life and is a trained solicitor, says it would be a mistake to believe selling the crossing would save money.

He said: “If we were to keep the crossing and scrap the tolls it would bring investment into the area because it would encourage trade.

“It would open up the area to new investment, because companies who had previously ruled out basing their business here because of the tolls would think again.”

Mr Johnson says selling the crossing to a private company would probably mean the end of any possibility of the toll being scrapped.

He said: “I have been campaigning against the tolls for the last seven years and the campaign goes on.

“I still want to see the tolls scrapped and I’m not going to give up until we see the back of them, and my fear is that selling the crossing will stop that ever happening.”

In the last financial year 51,662,878 vehicles used the bridge, generating around £67.3m for the government from the tolls.

Local Liberal Democrats have also fought the sale, launching a petition and organising protests where motorists honked their horns to sound their opposition to the plans.

Mr Johnson, who won 24,428 votes in the election and achieved a 11.56 per cent swing, says another of his priorities is helping to kick-start the regeneration of Dartford town centre.

Construction of the £300m Lowfield Vision project, which includes a Tesco supermarket, shops, restaurants and 934 homes, has stalled because of the recession.

Mr Johnson says he has met with the leader of Dartford Council, Councillor Jeremy Kite, to discuss the situation.

He said: “The town centre is very much in need of urgent attention and now its about looking at the best approaches for the future, and I want to do what I can to give the town centre the lift it needs.”