The Labour Party has moved to dismiss a suggestion from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) that the next Labour Government would use the power of law to force pubs to sell healthy food.

Speaking at the ALMR autumn conference last week, strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls told operators to expect new regulations forcing them to serve healthier meals if Labour gets to power.

She said Labour is “particularly vulnerable” to pressures to regulate because it oversaw self regulation of industries such as food as well as banks and energy - the fallout from the banking crisis in particular is “what’s fuelling their desire to take back control”.

However shadow pubs minister Toby Perkins has moved to refute the claims.

He said: “I was as surprised to read this story as anyone because the Labour Party has no plans to attack the great British institution which is pub grub.

“I have been working hard with organisations in the sector such as CAMRA, the Federation of Small Business and Fair Pint to see how we can help boost this vital sector, particularly through fairer regulation of the large pubcos.”

His view was supported by Labour’s Shadow Health Team who admitted that pubs have a duty to make ensure customers have all the information to make an informed choice.

A spokesman said: “Labour’s public health review is examining how to tackle poor diets in children and the nation’s low levels of physical activity - it has nothing to do with pub grub.”