A Birmingham Labour MP has hit out at Liberal Democrat councillors for "not having the bottle" to vote against controversial plans for a Tesco superstore at Hodge Hill.

Liam Byrne launched his onslaught in a letter to Local Government secretary Ruth Kelly, urging her to reject Tesco's proposal to build on the council-owned Brock-hurst Road playing fields.

The application sparked a vociferous protest campaign from hundreds of people living in the area, who are fighting the loss of sports land and also fear a super-store will put the Fox and Goose shopping centre out of business.

Birmingham City Council's planning committee last week backed the scheme on the casting vote of the chairman, after two Liberal Democrat councillors who spoke against during a debate on the issue abstained when the vote was taken. It is now up to Ms Kelly to decide whether to grant planning permission.

Mr Byrne, as Immigration Minister, is a member of the Government, but was writing in his capacity as MP for Hodge Hill.

He said in the letter: "There has been huge local opposition to these plans to concrete over our fields with significant objections that Tesco have not satisfactorily dealt with.

"People in Hodge Hill are rightly livid. Two people, who have openly criticised the plans, did not have the bottle to stand up to their convictions last week and by not voting have effectively given the green light to increased traffic, loss of green space and a major threat to Hodge Hill's local businesses."