AN East Lancashire MP has defended claims he was driving while distracted because he was eating a banana.

It comes after a national newspaper was set to publish pictures of Blackburn MP Jack Straw eating the fruit as he drove on the M6.

Mr Straw said a political reporter from The Sun had contacted him for a response to the allegations.

The MP told the Lancashire Telegraph: “They have a picture of me which was snapped on the M6 going south on Good Friday of me eating a banana. It was an absolute nightmare, and the traffic was going very slowly.

“The Highway Code does not prohibit eating a banana.”

According to a government website offering advice on safe driving, eating and drinking are not in themselves against the law.

However, the code does say that drivers must avoid distractions, including loud music which could mask other sounds, trying to read maps, inserting a cassette or CD, or tuning a radio, arguing with your passengers, or other road users, eating and drinking and smoking.

An AA spokesman said on the organisation’s website: “If any of these behaviours are coupled with bad driving, or lead to an accident, a charge of careless driving, or not being in a position to control the vehicle, becomes a distinct possibility. These behaviours can also be used to show dangerous driving, an offence which could lead to imprisonment, particularly if the dangerous driving causes a death.”