A bus company in the city has been branded as a "transport monster" by a local MP.

In a half an hour debate in Westminster this week, Preston MP Mark Hendrick talked of the escalating conflict between rivals Preston Bus and Stagecoach.

He claimed that large operators often used dirty and underhand tactics to drive out smaller operators and Stagecoach was trying to kill off the local employee-owned Preston Bus company.

He told MPs: "It is only a matter of time before there are serious injuries or possible fatalities because of the cut-throat competition."

He urged ministers to support local authorities in stopping the "wacky races" caused by the competition and putting an end to "bus barons blatantly disregarding passengers and public safety in favour of profits."

He also stated that the bus war had intensified after Preston Bus rejected a buyout bid from Stagecoach last summer.

He went on to say that since this rejection Stagecoach had waged a war against Preston Bus by undercutting fares and keeping buses at stops until they were full.

Mr Hendrick said that chaos had been unleashed on the streets with passengers being put at risk.

He added: "My constituents have reported that some Stagecoach staff have driven dangerously to get in front of a Preston Bus vehicle.

"These include one case of a driver making a three-point turn on a busy main road and of one overtaking on the wrong side of the road.

Stagecoach North West, managing director Chris Bowles denied the claims.

He said: "We are a bit baffled as to why he has made these inaccurate claims when he has never chosen to meet with us and discuss this.

"We've got 80,000 satisfied customers a week in Preston and they are the ones we are interested in."

Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, said: "Action is being taken locally to look into the Preston situation.

"We are also taking action nationally to help prevent such occurrences."

He added that the Local Transport Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament, would give local authorities more options to improve services.