Tesco has denied it attempted to buy political influence from MP Stephen Byers.

Byers – who is stepping down from Parliament after the forthcoming general election – claimed he had persuaded business secretary Lord Mandelson to water down food labelling rules on behalf of Tesco.

The MP for North Tyneside told undercover reporters he was a “cab for hire” that would use his influence in return for cash – but has since distanced himself from the remarks.

Tesco has denied that it attempted to purchase political influence.

In a statement the retailer said: “We did not speak to Mr Byers on food labelling, regulation or, indeed, any other issue. These claims are completely fictitious and Mr Byers has acknowledged this to us.”

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