Liberal Democrat minsters have pledged to “stand firm” against supermarkets’ abuse of power by creating a robust Grocery Code Adjudicator.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Party conference, consumer affairs minister Ed Davey said: “It doesn’t matter how big and powerful you are. We will stand firm. That is why we are creating a permanent supermarket adjudicator. Their job will be to enforce a tough new code of practice and stamp out bad behaviour.”

He said the Competition Commission had criticised the supermarkets for not playing fair. “Well, no more, Our party stands against vested interests, ripping off customers and playing dirty,” he said.

Welcoming the minister’s comments, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased that Ed Davey sees the introductions of a Grocery Code Adjudicator as a priority for the Liberal Democrats in government. ACS will continue to work with Ed Davey and across all political parties to ensure that the Adjudicator levels the playing field between retailers and suppliers.”

The ACS has made a number of recommendations to the recent BIS select committee inquiry into the draft grocery code adjudicator bill, including empowering the adjudicator to investigate mal practice by supermarkets and levy fines for breaching the grocery code supply of practice.