Sir Ken Morrison, the former chairman of Morrisons, has voted against the retailer's plans for a £1bn share buyback programme.

Attending his first Morrisons agm as a shareholder yesterday, Sir Ken told the meeting he would vote against the plans. “In the present economic climate when most organisations are giving serious consideration to fundraising, it is not the ideal time to be reducing company funds,” he said.

“We should be seeking to take advantage of other opportunities which may arise. I shall be voting against.” However, 80% of shareholders backed the plans.

Newly appointed chairman Sir Ian Gibson told shareholders Sir Ken would continue to be consulted on major decisions, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Sir Ken also questioned Morrisons' march south, according to the Guardian, telling reporters: “It's an important part of Morrisons character that it's rooted in the north with northern values.”

The chain yesterday reported like-for-like sales growth of 7%, excluding fuel, for the 13 weeks to 4 May. However, shares slipped 7.5p to close on 284.75p as analysts warned the pace of growth was slowing.