Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy has called for interest and taxes to be kept on hold after the election.

Speaking at the Institute of Directors Sir Terry said: “My view is that the consumer picture in the UK is still unclear. The economy relies on a confident consumer, and I hope that this will weigh heavily on any interest rate decisions.

He also defended Tesco’s record profits. “I struggle with the idea that we want British companies to be a bit less successful - to be good but not too good. In business as in sport, I just don’t see how you can set out to be half good,” he said.