Justin Trudeau apologised for munching a chocolate bar in parliament as he battled the corruption scandal beleaguering his government.

The Canadian prime minister was spotted eating during a late night voting session, in defiance of rules permitting members only to drink water.

Opposition MP Scott Reid first suggested Mr Trudeau was “hiding a bagel in his desk” before taking the opportunity to refer to the ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy.

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“The prime minister has already stained this place with corruption, he does not need to stain it with mustard as well,” said Mr Reid.

Amid uproar in the Commons, Mr Trudeau responded: “I apologise, it was a chocolate bar, I apologise.”

After restoring order, Speaker Geoff Regan announced: “Can I remind members that food is not permitted in the chamber.”

No further detail was provided about the type of chocolate bar devoured by the prime minister.

SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest construction company and a government contractor, is accused of bribing Libyan officials to secure work during the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Members of Mr Trudeau’s Liberal party are said to have pressured the attorney general to head off a criminal prosecution.

The scandal has caused two of his cabinet ministers and a senior aide to step down, but the prime minister has refused to apologise. 

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His party has also blocked calls for former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to answer further questions on the issue, resulting in Wednesday’s filibuster by the Conservatives in protest at what they called a “cover up”.

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