The threat of a major backbench rebellion is being used to force ministers to give rural councils a fairer share of local authority funding.
Petitions collected in 119 rural constituencies – including seats right across the Westcountry – were yesterday presented in Parliament calling for the gulf between grants given to rural and urban councils to be closed.
The Rural Fair Share campaign claims rural councils receive 50% less money per head than their urban counterparts due to the Government's skewed funding formula.
The MPs want the gap closed when the Department for Communities and Local Government next month unveils the latest local authority spending settlement.
Some Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs could even rebel against the Finance Bill when the Commons votes next year.
MPs presenting petitions included Sir Nick Harvey (Lib Dem, North Devon), Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con, Bridgwater), Sarah Wollaston (Con, Totnes), Neil Parish (Con, Tiverton and Honiton), Sarah Newton (Con, Truro and Falmouth) and Stephen Gilbert (Lib Dem, St Austell and Newquay).
Mr Glibert said: "Along with my Cornish Liberal Democrat colleagues, I have campaigned for a fair deal for Cornwall's public services. We have already succeeded in getting the government to look again at some specific funding streams, but the Rural Fair Share campaign keeps the pressure on to ensure that this coalition Government takes the necessary action to give Cornwall, and other rural communities, their fair share of national funding for key local public services.
"It's simply not fair for people living in inner city boroughs to receive more government cash per-head for the same services as those living in communities like ours."
Yorkshire Tory backbencher Graham Stuart, who chairs the Rural Fair Share campaign in Westminster, said: "Rural councils provide fewer services to a typically more-needy population, and at a higher cost to that population, because of inequalities in the central government grant."
Mr Stuart has dubbed the huge funding gap the "rural penalty", blaming a Government formula which directs extra money to areas with high levels of deprivation.
"If you started with a blank piece of paper, you would recognise the needs of concentrations of deprivation in cities – but you would also recognise the high cost of elderly populations, and the cost of delivery of services in sparsely-populated areas," he said. "You just have to think – how much does it cost to empty the bins?"
It comes amid rural anger over no vote yet to repeal the hunting ban and HS2.