Peers in the House of Lords ought to be able to drink the highest quality champagne on offer as they should enjoy some privilege of peerage, an MP has said.

Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) said claims that peers turned down merged catering services with the Commons because they were worried the champagne would not be as good were now "legendary if not mythical".

Mr Rees-Mogg also urged MPs to be cautious about reforming the unelected House of Lords, saying it must remain an independent second chamber, rather than becoming a subsidiary one.

In a debate on Commons governance, he said: "I quite understand why their lordships are very nervous about this place trying to grab power from it.

"If I were in that place rather than in this place I would take the same view that the House of Commons by virtue of ultimately controlling the purse strings, by having the democratic mandate, is always in a position to peer over at what their lordships are doing.

"And, though as I understand it the champagne story turned out to be somewhat legendary if not mythical, and anyway I think their lordships ought to drink the highest quality of champagne.

"If, after all, you are a Lord, you must have some privilege of peerage.

"Although that may have been legendary if not mythical, actually the need to maintain their independence because they do not want to be a subsidiary chamber, they are a second chamber, the second chamber, but not a subsidiary chamber."

Last month, Sir Malcolm Jack, a former clerk of the House of Commons, claimed before a committee of MPs that a proposal to merge the two Houses' catering services was thrown out because the Lords ''feared the quality of champagne would not be as good''.

Lord Sewel, chair of committees, hit back at the suggestion, issuing a statement in which he said it was ''inaccurate'' to suggest the Commons had put forward a plan for a joint catering service, and that the Lords had rejected it.

In a letter to a newspaper he also branded claims the House had a champagne fund as ''preposterous'' as it was sold at a profit and had helped to cut the cost of catering services.

Mr Rees-Mogg's father, William Rees-Mogg, was himself a peer.

A former editor of the Times, Lord Rees-Mogg died in 2012 aged 84 from oesophageal cancer.

He received a life peerage in 1988 and sat as a cross-bencher, although he had twice in the 1950s stood for Parliament as a Conservative.